One of the exciting things about working with KDI is going through the public participation process to ensure their projects have full buy-in from community members. Since being in Nairobi, I have had the opportunity to work on implementing a sanitation block at KPSP01. Since there is no municipal sewer nearby, we have had to explore decentralized treatment options. KDI presented several options to the community a couple months ago during a workshop; however, without seeing real-life examples of such technologies, the community could not make a decision.
That’s where I came in. For the past month, I’ve been researching sanitation projects around Nairobi and making connections. We have toured four different projects to help us all better understand the implications of each project.
We first paid a visit to the Sanergy facility in Mukuru, Nairobi. Mukuru is another informal settlement similar to Kibera, and Sanergy has an interesting model for providing toilets. They sell a “business in a box” that includes a toilet, all the necessary toilet business components (loo paper, cleaners, etc), and a year’s worth of collection services. Currently, 100 “Fresh Life Operators” own and maintain 180 toilets in Mukuru.
The toilets they sell are called urine-diverting dry toilets, or UDDTs. Liquids are separated from the solid waste stream at the source, rather than during the treatment process. This reduces the smell, but also keeps each waste stream more “pure”, essentially making them more valuable. The solids are then composted, and the liquids can be diluted and used as fertilizer or stored and released. Nesta, an active community member at KPSP01 (and master composter for garden waste) is shown below standing next to Sanergy’s model toilet.
You can see that the squat plate lifts up, exposing two tanks. Sanergy employs people to collect and replace these tanks every day. The composting is then done at their centralized facility. Without paved roads in Mukuru, people must use hand carts to haul the waste. The central composting facility contain at least 50 composting bins, each in various stages of decomposition. The finished fertilizer, which looks like any other soil, is sold to farmers in rural Kenya
Stay tuned for the Toilet Tours, Part II.