Compost toilets for the villagers of Abasha, Georgia

The project “safe and sanitary conditions for sustainable development in the Georgian municipalities Abasha and Akhaltsikhe” helped 15 families build modern urine-diverting dry toilets the past year, with technical aid from  the Greens Movement / Friends of the Earth Georgia, Akhalstikhe Social Development Center and our colleagues from WECF Georgia. Entire families, but especially girls and women, are now able to use clean and hygienic toilets. Also when they have their periods.

In the Georgian regions of Akhaltsikhe and Abashe, traditional pit latrines are used that are located far from the houses. Some are located directly above the irrigation channels. The region is very stony and digging a deep hole is difficult and sometimes impossible. Therefore, toilets fill up relatively quickly and have to be emptied regularly, which is quite a dangerous job. It is impossible to safely dispose of the waste. Like in most areas of rural Georgia, there is no centralized sewage system and the current toilets do not meet the required SDG and WHO targets.

However, residents always took it for granted that they simply had to walk far to their toilets, in the cold and in the dark. And nobody was aware of the fact that bacteria and pathogens directly seeped into the groundwater via puddles and poo, and in this way could have negative effects on their health. Only when we, together with local partners, implemented a number of Urine Diverting Dry Toilets (UDDTs) in this region a few years ago awareness came about. UDD Toilets are urine separating toilets, that do not require water, and that have many advantages. By separating the urine from the stool, odor nuisance can be drastically reduced, and even better, it yields compost, which can be used in the vegetable garden.

In the past year, in collaboration with local partners Society Development Center Akhaltsikhe, Greens Movement and Friends of the Earth Georgia, we continued to build safe sanitation in the Abasha and Akhaltsikhe regions. During this project it was of great importance to make the local population aware of the many dangers. Workshops were organized for this purpose, in which the themes of safe sanitation and clean drinking water were discussed. Special attention was paid to the cause and prevention of waterborne diseases. Training has also been provided on the use and maintenance of the toilets.

The need for better water and sanitation was raised through a meeting with both locals and local authorities. During a discussion it became clear that the demand for more UDDT toilets was high, and that local authorities can also contribute to the multiplication of these toilets.

With the financial help of Natracare we were able to install 20 new UDDT toilets. Entire families, but especially girls and women, can now use clean and hygienic toilets. Even when they have their periods. Demand for similar toilets remains very high, and we hope to continue building more sustainable toilets with our partners and the local in the future.