Tag Archives: Malawi

Pit Latrine Fecal Sludge Resistance Using a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer in Low Income Areas in Mzuzu City, Malawi

Pit Latrine Fecal Sludge Resistance Using a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer in Low Income Areas in Mzuzu City, Malawi. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 87; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020087

Pit latrines can provide improved household sanitation, but without effective and inexpensive emptying options, they are often abandoned once full and may pose a public health threat.

Emptying techniques can be difficult, as the sludge contents of each pit latrine are different. The design of effective emptying techniques (e.g., pumps) is limited by a lack of data characterizing typical in situ latrine sludge resistance.

This investigation aimed to better understand the community education and technical engineering needs necessary to improve pit latrine management. In low income areas within Mzuzu city, Malawi, 300 pit latrines from three distinct areas were assessed using a dynamic cone penetrometer to quantify fecal sludge strength, and household members were surveyed to determine their knowledge of desludging procedures and practices likely to impact fecal sludge characteristics.

The results demonstrate that there is a significant difference in sludge strength between lined and unlined pits within a defined area, though sludge hardened with depth, regardless of the pit type or region. There was only limited association between cone penetration depth and household survey data.

To promote the adoption of pit emptying, it is recommended that households be provided with information that supports pit emptying, such as latrine construction designs, local pit emptying options, and cost.

This study indicates that the use of a penetrometer test in the field prior to pit latrine emptying may facilitate the selection of appropriate pit emptying technology.

Characterization of pit latrines to support design and selection of emptying tools in peri-urban Mzuzu, Malawi

Characterization of pit latrines to support design and selection of emptying tools in peri-urban Mzuzu, Malawi. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development | in press | 2017

Authors: Rashid Chiposa, Rochelle H. Holm, Chimuleke Munthali, Russel C. G. Chidya and Francis L. de los Reyes III

The urban areas of many low-income countries must balance a rising demand for pit latrines for household sanitation provision against limitations in space, resulting in a need for pit latrine emptying services.

This study was undertaken in the peri-urban neighborhood of Area 1B in the city of Mzuzu, Malawi, to examine the characteristics of household pit latrines for designing and selecting pit latrine emptying tools. We used 150 structured household surveys and field observations. From this, a subset was selected and 30 manual cone penetrometer tests were conducted at full latrines. Chemical oxygen demand analysis was also performed at 14 pit latrines.

The results indicated that in addition to serving as a disposal for fecal matter, 90% of households also used pit latrines for domestic waste. Only 10% of the studied pit latrines were lined. The filling rate in the study area is calculated to be about three years, and no respondents reported previous emptying.

It is suggested pit latrine emptying technology development focuses on a maximum tool diameter of 10 cm to fit through the keyhole (squat hole) and height of 146 cm to fit inside the superstructure, as well as supporting unlined pits and the ability to pump trash.

Adopt or Adapt: Sanitation Technology Choices in Urbanizing Malawi

Adopt or Adapt: Sanitation Technology Choices in Urbanizing Malawi | PloS One, Aug 2016.

Authors: Richard M. Chunga , Jeroen H. J. Ensink, Marion W. Jenkins, Joe Brown

This paper presents the results of a mixed-methods study examining adaptation strategies that property owners in low-income, rapidly urbanizing areas in Malawi adopt to address the limitations of pit latrines, the most common method of disposing human excreta.

A particular challenge is lack of space for constructing new latrines as population density increases: traditional practice has been to cap full pits and simply move to a new site, but increasing demands on space require new approaches to extend the service life of latrines.

In this context, we collected data on sanitation technology choices from January to September 2013 through 48 in-depth interviews and a stated preference survey targeting 1,300 property owners from 27 low-income urban areas.

Results showed that property owners with concern about space for replacing pit latrines were 1.8 times more likely to select pit emptying service over the construction of new pit latrines with a slab floor (p = 0.02) but there was no significant association between concern about space for replacing pit latrines and intention to adopt locally promoted, novel sanitation technology known as ecological sanitation (ecosan).

Property owners preferred to adapt existing, known technology by constructing replacement pit latrines on old pit latrine locations, reducing the frequency of replacing pit latrines, or via emptying pit latrines when full.

This study highlights potential challenges to adoption of wholly new sanitation technologies, even when they present clear advantages to end users.

To scale, alternative sanitation technologies for rapidly urbanising cities should offer clear advantages, be affordable, be easy to use when shared among multiple households, and their design should be informed by existing adaptation strategies and local knowledge.

UNC and P&G to Provide First Analysis of Environmental Health in Malawi Hospitals

UNC and P&G to Provide First Analysis of Environmental Health in Malawi Hospitals | Source: UNC News, May 15 2016 |

Millions of Malawians seek medical care in the country’s health care facilities each year. Yet, an analysis of the environmental health status in these facilities has never been performed. This summer, baseline measurements will be collected thanks to a partnership between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Procter & Gamble (P&G) through the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program (CSDW).


Patients being cared for at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Malawi.

“Health facilities should not be places to acquire infection due to lack of clean water, hygiene and sanitation; they should be places for cure,” says Innocent Mofolo, associate country director of UNC Project-Malawi. “WaSH should be part of an integrated approach to health and human development. This assessment will help determine WaSH gaps that exist in most of our health facilities and devise strategies to improve the situation.”

The assessment of 45 health facilities in the northern, central and southern regions of Malawi is being funded by a generous donation from P&G. Data collection will begin in August by researchers from the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases and its UNC Project in Malawi and the Water Institute at UNC.

Read the complete article.


VIA Water second faecal sludge webinar report

Which technical options are available for the reuse of faecal sludge? Report of a VIA Water webinar led by Jan Spit.


© S. Blume/SuSanA Secretariat

Report on the webinar: read the questions that were asked before and during the webinar, and Jan Spit’s answers to them:

  1. D2B: http://english.rvo.nl/subsidies-programmes/develop2build-d2b
  2. DRIVE: http://english.rvo.nl/subsidies-programmes/development-related-infrastructure-investment-vehicle-drive

In Germany: KfW: https://www.kfw.de/International-financing/. For innovative funding, look at: http://www.traidwheel.nl/appropriate-finance/Innovative-financing-mechanisms

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Sanitation in Malawi – SHARE project and CCODE work

Published on Sep 2, 2014

The video features the work of CCODE and the Federation of the Rural and Urban Poor in Blantyre, framed on the SHARE (Sanitation and Hygiene Applied for Equity) research project, as well as the challenges that the country faces in terms of sanitation, water and hygiene.

SHARE’s work to date in Malawi has focused on Ecological Sanitation (Ecosan), which has been heavily promoted in urban areas. Blantyre in Malawi is also one of the cities included in the City-Wide Sanitation Project.

For more information about the work of CCODE and the Federation of the Rural and Urban Poor visit http://www.ccodemw.org/.

For further info about SHARE visit http://www.shareresearch.org

IIED presents SHARE-funded City-Wide Sanitation Project findings

May 6, 2014 – IIED presents SHARE-funded City-Wide Sanitation Project findings at the 11th International Conference on Urban Health at the University of Manchester | Source: SHARE website

SHARE partner IIED presented its findings on the challenges and opportunities of different models for improving sanitation in deprived communities at the 11th International Conference on Urban Health at the University of Manchester. iied

The work presented was published last year in a paper entitled “Overcoming obstacles to community-driven sanitary improvement in deprived urban neighbourhoods: lessons from practice”. Sanitary improvement has historically been central to urban health improvement efforts. Low cost sanitation systems almost inevitably require some level of community management, and in deprived urban settlements there are good reasons for favouring community-led sanitary improvement.

It has been argued that community-led sanitary improvement also faces serious challenges, including those of getting local residents to act collectively, getting the appropriate public agencies to co-produce the improvements, finding improvements that are acceptable and affordable at scale, and preventing institutional problems outside of the water and sanitation sector (such as tenure or landlord-tenant problems) from undermining improvement efforts. This paper examines these sanitary challenges in selected cities where organizations of the urban poor are actively trying to step up their work on sanitary issues, and considers they can best be addressed.