Improving sanitation in urban settlements in Tanzania
The project aiming at improving sanitation of people living in informal settlements of Dar es Salaam was initiated in Aalto University as part of courses on sustainable urban planning and technologies in 2014 by a group of multidisciplinary students.
The project was implemented in cooperation with the Centre for Community Initiatives and the Tanzania Federation of the Urban Poor, both active organizations working in Tanzania and the Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland (Huussi ry).
The project team introduced ecological sanitation technologies and composting methods to the local community and trained them on construction, maintenance and operation of ecosan toilets. With the support of the project local communities built as many as 38 ecosan toilets for low-income families in three informal settlements around Dar es Salaam and benefitted the life of hundreds of people in those areas.
Habiba Moshi, resident of Karakata, one of the settlements, tells what this project meant for her:
“Federation has built my capacity a lot, now I can speak confidently. I have acquired skills on mobilization, sanitation and construction. Now I am a very well trained technician and I can build toilets and even houses. The biggest challenge in our community is sanitation.
With the help of this project, we mobilize and construct toilets for low price. We construct dry toilets in places where there is a high water table. Dry toilets are good toilets with the advantage of harvesting urine and compost as fertilizer and they keep the environment clean”
The project built the grounds for the establishment of a local social enterprise run by local communities to produce fertilizers and soil amendments harvested from ecosan toilets. Members of the project with business knowledge educated and adviced the local community on basic business skills and principles of sustainable economies.
Additionally, local groups acquired knowledge on entrepreneurship and learned basic business skills such as accounting, marketing and sales, packaging and labelling.
Finally, a preliminary study to test the safeness and effectiveness of urine as fertilizer was carried out, and farmers, governmental officials, and community were approached to assess the acceptability of this product.