Tag Archives: Zambia

Reducing vandalism of water and sanitation infrastructure

Water and sanitation utilities commonly experience vandalism and theft of their
property. These acts of vandalism are widespread in both urban and rural settings and take a number of forms: they include water theft leading directly to a loss of revenue for the utility, and the vandalism and theft of valuable metal pipes, fittings and manhole covers leading to an increase in the utility’s maintenance costs. The extent of vandalism and theft experienced in a project or defined area can have a direct and significant impact on the performance of a utility, and where the service is negatively affected, this will ultimately impact on the well-being of customers. Despite anecdotal evidence of the prevalence of this problem research into the subject remains very limited, with a lack of documentation on interventions to reduce vandalism or the extent to which a reduction in vandalism can lead to improved water and sanitation services.

To explore strategies for combating this issue, WSUP has recently carried out a case study documenting experience in the Copperbelt region of Zambia, where Nkana Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC) are implementing a three-pronged, integrated approach to vandalism reduction.

Want to find out more? For a quick read download our two-page Practice Note. For a more in-depth analysis, see our Topic Brief.



Undoing inequity: water, sanitation and hygiene programmes that deliver for all

UK Under Secretary of State for International Development Lynne Featherstone visiting SHARE-funded Undoing Inequity programme in Uganda. Photo: SHARE/WaterAid

WaterAid is currently carrying out a SHARE-funded action research project in Zambia and Uganda in collaboration with WEDC and the Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre (LCD), called Undoing Inequity: water, sanitation and hygiene programmes that deliver for all.  The project aims to generate rigorous evidence about how a lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) impacts on the lives of disabled, older persons and people living with a chronic illness; understand the barriers they face, develop and test an inclusive WASH approach to address those barriers and influence key policy and decision makers to mainstream inclusive WASH within development.

As part of this project, Hazel Jones (WEDC) has written a report titled Mainstreaming disability and ageing in water, sanitation and hygiene programmes.  This report recognises that progress on the MDGs is not happening in an equitable way.  A drive for increasing coverage of basic services, such as WASH has meant that people who are ‘harder to reach’, such as disabled and older people often remain un-served.

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Creative measures improve sanitation programmes in eight African countries

Sapling handwashing, Malawi.

Sapling handwashing, Malawi. Photo: Plan Malawi

Eight African countries are creatively achieving the goals of community led total sanitation programmes (CLTS) including one idea in Malawi where handwashing is monitored according to the health of tree seedlings planted beneath water outlets.

In Zambia several schools have established vegetable gardens to reduce malnutrition and improve school attendance. Some of the harvests have been sold raising funds for school activities.

In Sierra Leone men have traditionally been the community leaders but women are now being encouraged to play a major part in village committees and networks of natural leaders.  To support CLTS women conduct house-to-house monitoring, giving health talks and reporting diseases –- many of them overcoming challenges such as illiteracy to maintain the programme.

Plan International’s five year Pan African CLTS (PAC) programme which ends in December, 2014, is operating in the eight countries of Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and Malawi, Ghana and Niger. With the backing of the Dutch government the project was designed to promote and scale up sanitation in communities and schools.

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Video Resource: What’s working in urban water and sanitation?

Water and sanitation services, as we all know, remain grossly deficient in slum districts of cities throughout the less-developed world.

Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) has produced a series of short videos relevant for everybody working to improve water and sanitation services for low-income urban consumers, highlighting ways in which African water utilities and other key actors are achieving real progress in this area.

The first four videos in the series are now available to watch on our YouTube channel and cover the following topics:

Emptying pits: a serious business
Paulinho, a small entrepreneur in Maputo, Mozambique, is moving into the pit emptying business. This video shows him at work.

Fix the leaks, serve the poor
How reducing non-revenue water (NRW) can free up water for low-income communities: experience from Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Surcharging for sanitation
Charging for sanitation through water bills. This video explores Lusaka’s sanitation levy system.

Connecting people
Tariff reform and social marketing as strategies for increasing household connections to the water network: experience from Maputo, Mozambique.

*The next set of videos in this series will follow shortly. Watch this space!

Zambia: A plastic bag for a toilet

LUSAKA, 11 August 2011 (IRIN) – Charity Muyumbana, 45, has spent her entire adult life contending with recurrent flooding, poor drainage, and a lack of toilets in Kanyama, the sprawling Lusaka township where she lives.

“Most of the people use plastic bags to relieve themselves during the night. They find it more convenient because some toilets are up to 200m away from the house,” she told IRIN.

Photo: Charles Mafa/IRIN

The situation in Kanyama represents a countrywide problem. According to a 2008 study by local NGO the Water and Sanitation Forum, only 58 percent of Zambians have access to adequate sanitation and 13 percent lack any kind of toilet.

While the government has improved water and sanitation in urban areas, this is not the case in unplanned, high density peri-urban settlements like Kanyama where residents complain that lack of space and poor soil make it difficult to construct latrines, and a haphazard road network has contributed to a serious drainage problem.

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WaterAid – World Toilet Day 2010: a mother’s story, Zambia

Jay Graham/USAID – Water, sanitation and hygiene in Zambian schools photo collection

Nov 2010 – 49 photos of water, sanitation and hygiene in Zambian schools. If you have comments or questions, contact Jay Graham.

Commonly used handwashing system at schools. The only complaint of this system is that it is occasionally stolen from schools.

Zambia: Kapoto residents refuse to drink treated water because ‘it can make them impotent’

Residents of Kapoto shanty compound where cholera has broken out in Kitwe have shocked the district administration after they refused to be drinking treated water allegedly for fear of becoming impotent.

ZANIS Kitwe reports that Kitwe District Commissioner Macdonald Mtine confirmed that the community in Kapoto compound was not taking free treated water which the Nkana Water and Sewerage Company was providing.

This is despite the outbreak of cholera in the area.

Mr. Mtine, who is also Kitwe District Epidemic Preparedness Committee chairman, said seven people from Kapoto have already been treated for cholera but surprisingly, the rest of the people in the area have continued to drink water from shallow wells located near pit latrines.

He said the people of the damp Kapoto compound should start using treated water from the Nkana Water Kiosks to enable health authorities to contain the cholera situation.

Mr. Mtine expressed worry at the traditional myth circulating in Kapota compound that treated water had certain particles that would make them impotent once they took it.

He said the continuous use of water from shallow wells located near pit latrines was dangerous and exposing the community to more water borne diseases.

He has since appealed to the community not to compromise their health and instead drink treated water.

Source – http://www.lusakatimes.com/?p=23241

Zambia: turning urine into gold

When he ordered his colleagues at the Water and Sanitation Association of Zambia (WASAZA) to save all their urine in a plastic bottle in the office toilet, they thought he was mad. But German sanitation specialist Christopher Kellner wanted to demonstrate why he calls urine “liquid gold”.

“(Urine) contains the three most important plant nutrients which farmers buy as artificial fertiliser. These are nitrogen, phosphorus) and potassium – but it also contains all eight micronutrients plants need for growth,” Kellner explains.

Seconded to the Water and Sanitation Association of Zambia (WASAZA) by the Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA) and the Centre for International Migration and Development of Germany, Kellner wasted no time setting up a urine-fertilised vegetable garden on the grounds of the WASAZA offices in Luskaka.

Workers’ pee is collected and used in the garden on Great East Road, across the road from the University of Zambia campus, and vegetables given to the urine donors to illustrate the valuable commodity that’s usually pissed away.

Kellner and his team at WASAZA are busy pushing on with developing and popularising a latrine that will separate human waste into two components – urine and solid matter, so they can be processed into two different forms of manure.

Kellner is piloting a system called a “fertiliser-producing toilet” which focuses on re-use of solid waste. Such a toilet, once integrated into gardening, will never fill up.

When a user sits on one of the new toilets, the urine will go one way to a storage tank fitted with a compressor and a valve, from where it can be collected for direct use as liquid fertiliser after dilution.

The solid waste will fall into a shallow pit where it will be covered with soil and compacted; it will dry it out and neutralise it before it is ready for use as fertiliser. Any smell is vented out through a pipe.

“The original idea is to enrich the vegetative growth in our immediate vicinity. But it can be sold at prevailing prices. These days dried sludge from sewerage works has a price of ZMK7,500 (around $1.60) per ton,” notes Kellner.

According to the Zambian government’s 2000 census, just under 15 percent of Zambia’s 1.8 million households had access to flush toilets or ventilated improved pit latrines. Even simple pit latrines are considered a luxury in rural communities and in the high-density urban settlements aruof Lusaka and the Copper Belt, where poverty is endemic.

Kellner says the toilet they are building now costs $1,800. “But the challenge is to get the same basic idea realised for a quarter of this or even less.”

Kellner reckons that on average, a person will produce 500 litres of urine and around 50 kg of faeces a year; so a a family of six can easily turn their waste into fertiliser for 1,000 square metres of garden.

“If we can popularise this type of pit latrine, then we can drastically cut the fertiliser costs of small farmers. We can encourage people to have fun and success from their gardens.”

Read more about urine diverting toilets on Akvopedia’s sanitation portal.

Source: Lewis Mwanangombe, IPS, 26 Dec 2009

Zambia – Putting waste to work

NDOLA, Zambia, Nov 23 (IPS) – When Obed Mumba first came to the Zambian copper mining town of Ndola in search of work, it was still known reverently as “Ku kalale” – the land of the white man. In the decades since, he has witnessed his Kabushi township outgrow the limited dreams of its planners.

Now 56, he is affectionately known in the Kariba section of the location as “Ba Shikulu-Mumba”, Grandpa Mumba. The neighbourhood was built in the 1940s specially to accommodate single men like Mumba, who came to Ndola from the northern region of Luapula to work in the Bwana Mkubwa Copper Mine.

Kariba comprised 130 housing blocks of six rooms each that were the envy of many native workers at the time. The changed fortunes of the town are felt keenly here, as the bright young men of today have quickly learned that it pays to follow revered sons of the city like Frederick Chiluba and Levy Mwanawasa (both former presidents of Zambia) to Lusaka, where fame and money are more readily found.

Hostels long outgrown

Established in the 1940s, Kariba section was built specially to accommodate people like Mumba who came to Ndola from Luapula as a single and eventually found work with Bwana Mkubwa (which means Big Boss).

This section comprised 130 swanky new housing blocks of six rooms that were the envy of many indigenous workers of the time.

But in the years since the rules preventing miners’ families from living with them were cast aside, each room became living quarters for a family of five or more. Shacks, known locally as “cabins”, were thrown up to house teenaged sons and daughters and extended family members.

The original sanitation arrangements, eight communal ablution blocks, each designed to serve 100 people, were soon overwhelmed. By the early 1980s the communal showers and toilets were completely abandoned.

“We had to dig shallow pit latrines near our houses and children who feared to fall into them began to defecate in the open. The whole place began to smell terrible with flies everywhere,” Mumba, who today runs a small grocery store, recalls.

Among those who had left Ndola to make his career was Bernard Phiri. He had risen to become chief executive officer of the Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company, responsible for the town’s water and sanitation, when in 2007 a non-governmental organisation from Germany established links with the Water and Sanitation Association of Zambia.

Appropriate technology

BORDA, the Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association, had been working on biogas projects in India since the late 1970s, and was interested in setting up a pilot project in Zambia.

Kabushi township was chosen for the pilot for a decentralised wastewater treatment system, intended as a waste and energy solution for a poor neighbourhood lacking sanitation. The system depends on bio-digesters to process human waste to give off methane gas.

A bio-digester is a reservoir – typically round – built out of burnt bricks and mortar or plain concrete with two vents fitted with valves. Through one vent, raw human waste flows in, which is hungrily fed on by bacteria, until out of the other flows an odorless, biodegraded slurry that can safely be used as manure in a vegetable garden.

Methane gas released by the bacteria collects at the top of the structure’s convex roof, and is piped away to feed stoves in the nearby homes.

Five hundred forty-seven toilets were constructed by Kafubu in Kabushi. “These are pour flush toilets with an integrated shower. The water supply is metered and the effluent from 156 households feeds the two biogas digesters that have already been constructed,” Phiri explains.

Waste not, want not

Each household is expected to pay for the piped water used in the toilet, kitchen and shower – billed at a rate of 59,200 Zambian kwacha – just under $13 – for 38 cubic metres of water.

Ba Shikulu-Mumba is one of the 30 grateful homeowners who has been connected to the gas network. He says it is much cheaper to cook on gas than on charcoal.

“A bag of charcoal costs about 30,000 kwacha and if your wife is careless you can end up with a bill of more than 150,000 ZMK (just over $30) a month,” he observed. A typical household in Kabushi gets by on roughly $100 each month.

As more digesters are built in the area, the plan is to connect all the houses as raw sewerage is expected to come in from more affluent neighbourhoods.

Sustainable development

The Kabushi project is the first integrated water treatment system in Zambia, and has already been copied by four of the country’s ten other water utilities.

Bwalya Nondo, spokesperson for the ministry of environment and natural resources points out that the project’s benefits extend beyond refurbished toilets and cheap fuel for residents. Harnessing renewable energy from human waste will also go a long way to protect Zambia’s fast-disappearing forests.

“At the moment charcoal burners destroy as much as 300,000 hectares of forest cover each year,” Nondo said.

The two biodigesters, and the gas pipes and support structures built in Kariba section of Kabushi has cost Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company around $830,000. The biodigesters have put Kabushi and the city of Ndola on the road to a sustainable new order for their city.

Source – http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49381