Sanitary living conditions, specifically in the context of clean water and uncontaminated food sources, are of paramount importance in Lweza and the throughout Uganda. Very few people have access to running water and instead rely on drawing water from underground springs. These springs routinely test positive for human disease contaminants, often as a result of a lack of access to proper bathroom facilities for people living near them. VHP aims to introduce ecosan toilets in the Lweza community to address this issue. Our previous work with the biodigester has already shown the benefits of waste reduction in one area of the community. By placing toilets throughout the rest of the community we hope to reach our goal of eliminating fecal contamination in water and food resources.
VHP is currently implementing a pilot project using ecosan toilets to assess their effectiveness and gain valuable input from the community on how the project can best serve them. During the first year, two types of toilets (alternating and fossa alterna) will be constructed. One third of the toilets constructed will be placed in community-identified public places and two thirds will be constructed at the household level. Following the one year pilot, partners from UW-Madison and Makerere University in Uganda will carry out a comprehensive assessment. The assessment will consider the effectiveness, location, maintenance, and overall function of the existing toilets. The attitudes and preferences of community members will be highly considered. This information will be synthesized and we will work with the community to implement the second phase of the project. The overall goal is to increase the number of toilets in the community by installing the most effective and community-favored in areas where they will be heavily utilized.