Tag Archives: Slum sanitation

Kenya, Kibera: “slum survivor” Patrick Mburu still emptying pit latrines to keep his kid in school

Pit latrine emptying in Kibera. Photo: KWAHO

Four years after news agency IRIN released its award-winning documentary film “Slum Survivors”, its makers returned to the Kenyan slum of Kibera to see what had happened to the main characters.

One of the most striking sequences of the film showed Patrick Mburu emptying pit latrine toilets in the dead of night. He did not much care for the job but the money was good and as he put it at the time, “I’ll carry as much shit as it takes to keep my kid in school.”

Four years later Patrick is still emptying toilets and his kid is still in school – and doing quite well by all accounts.

See below the section of “Slum Survivors” that follows Patrick at work at night emptying shared latrines [segment starts at 1.50].

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Uganda: new research to examine the sanitation crisis in slums

An interdisciplinary research program entitled “Integrated approaches and strategies to address the Sanitation Crisis in Unsewered Slum Areas in African mega-cities (SCUSA)”, funded by the UNESCO-IHE Partnership Research Fund (UPaRF), will be carried out by UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education (Delft, The Netherlands), Makerere University, and the Kampala City Council, both in Uganda.

The SCUSA research program has identified three PhD projects, centered around a slum area of Kampala for which PhD researchers are being recruited:

  • Wastewater and solid waste treatment and reuse
  • The socio-economic aspects of improving sanitation
  • Hydrology and contaminant transport

Research is planned to start in January 2009.

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India: Toilet seats: BMC eats its own words

MUMBAI: When American talk show host Jay Leno quipped that Indians can send a rocket into space but cannot build a decent toilet, he probably had the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in mind.

The BMC’s tall claims of constructing 20,000 toilet seats in one year stands exposed after it was revealed that it managed only 120 new seats in the past 24 months. More shocking was the fact that these toilets were all constructed in just one area-Bhandup. Sources said it was not due to lack of funds, but political interference that was responsible for this state of affairs. This year, the BMC budgeted Rs 38 crore for construction of new toilets and Rs 20 crore for retrofitting existing toilets. The project is being taken up under the Slum Sanitation Programme (SSP). (…)

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Uganda: Kampala Slum Dwellers Turn to ‘Flying Toilets’

“Kampala’s population is soaring with many people living in slum areas. However, the law does not allow KCC, the major provider of sanitation services, to work with informal settlements, writes Frederick Womakuyu.

An overflowing pit latrine empties its contents into a worm-infested drainage channel in front of Catherine Namubiru’s home in Kisenyi, a Kampala slum. Less than 10 such latrines serve a population of 3,000 people living in this area.

The latrines are dilapidated with rusty iron sheets for walls, cracked floors and are roofed with plastic material. Little wonder that many inhabitants of “Mogadishu” in the heart of Kisenyi use ‘flying toilets‘ “.


While initiatives like the Kampala Urban Sanitation Project (KUSP) have lead to some improvement, “the problem of flying toilets will remain with us as long as the Government does not set up a clear policy to deal with slums”, says Fred Katabazi, the director of Tweyembe Development Association, an NGO that seeks to improve sanitation in slums. “People keep migrating from rural to urban areas,” he added.

Source: Frederick Womakuyu, New Vision (Kampala) / allAfrica.com, 06 Jul 2008

Bangladesh: Poor sanitation management making the City more polluted

(…) According to a World Bank report, Dhaka is the fastest expanding city in the world. It has now got nearly 1.2 crore people with approximately 3-4 lakh poor joining it every year. The city’s population is apprehended to hit 2 crore in 2020, making it the World’s third largest city.  (…)

Unfortunately, Dhaka cannot cope with its growing population. A significant portion or the city’s populace lives in slums. These people have virtually no access to the city’s sanitation and sewerage facilities. Among 1,925 slums mentioned in the report, there is only one public toilet each in only 43 slums.  (….)

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