At WASTE, we pride ourselves in the strength of our partnerships and especially in the integrity of our peers. We often find our colleagues, both former and current, crossing paths around the world. Furthermore, we are always encouraged when we have the opportunity to share learnings between programmes and when the more seasoned amongst us have the time and opportunity to conduct trainings to pass along knowledge to our partners and programmes.
The WASTE team prides its self in its approach: aiming to strengthen local systems in the countries we work, building capacities of local stakeholders to effectively take ownership of waste management and water/sanitation/hygiene (WASH) services.
We do not necessarily believe in ‘re-inventing the wheel’. We look to our peers in the field for the best technologies to suit the contexts the varying local needs, learn from any mistakes and partner for efficiency and scale.
In November, our extended teams had the opportunity to do just this. Organized by NAWASCO and WaterWorX WOP Nakuru, members of our various programmes joined an exchange with the Sanivation team in Naivasha and training in Nakuru on the Mechanical Desludging Unit (MDU) to explore different technologies which may help their own waste collection services. Why the MDU? The teams reported, “While at household level, the disposal/valorization elements are being taken care of, the collection of faecal sludge from dry on-site sanitation systems like pit latrines is still a big challenge. Pit latrines are difficult to reach and the faecal sludge is thick and full of rubbish. The current manual pit emptying practices are labor intensive, unpleasant and unhygienic, leading to extended non-availability of the on-site systems.
In attendance were our FINISH Mondial faecal sludge management teams from Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, as well as the Nakuru Pit Emptier Entrepreneurs and the Lusaka Water and Sanitation Authority of Zambia. Their week in Nakuru yielded a few key findings for the participants who reported the MDU design can highly cope with difficult African pit contexts and is user-friendly.
On one hand, Christopher Ndangala from FINISH Mondial in Tanzania reported feeling optimistic about opportunities in scaling the business model to service Mwanza city and Ilemela Municipality “for sustainable and proper service delivery to the community as well as provide [safe] employment for youths.” Meanwhile, Cecily Kabagumya from FINISH Mondial in Uganda identified some opportunities to strengthen the gaps locally in the policy and regulatory frameworks in order for the public-private partnerships to operate effectively and potential opportunities for stimulating briquette production in Western Uganda. A key takeaway from Naivasha: “each government shilling [invested] in sanitation attracts a shilling from the private sector.”
Thank you to our colleague, Jan Spit, for organizing this event. Cross-programme trainings such as this are accelerating our abilities to create effective systems and encouraging the extended WASTE family to continue sharing learnings from the field.