what we do

Having water inside your school, or in your home, is not a reality for millions of people, in Africa, Asia, the Americas and also in Europe. We work with schools and local authorities and through interactive exercises raise awareness of how to protect drinking water sources and ensure menstrual hygiene. We partner with universities and public water providers and support the building of home connections for drinking water supply. We pilot ecological wastewater treatment and school toilets in areas where there is no sewage system.

Water and toilets in your home and in school

School girls often lack privacy and washing possibilities, so that when they have their period, they will stay home. Millions of girls miss out on 25% of school because of lack of menstrual hygiene. Going to the toilet can often be a perilous activity, when there are only a few holes at the end of the schoolyard, in the snow, in the rain, in a dark corner. Having no water at home and in school is a general cause of illness. Lack of washing spreads diseases. Often the water sources that are there, are not well protected. The water itself is then polluted with bacteria, nitrates and pesticide residues. It is not only having access to water, but to safe water, that is a human right. Knowing how to protect your drinking water source is the first step. Our training program on Water and Sanitation Safety Planning is a step-by-step assessment in which water providers, teachers and pupils participate. We teach how to build toilets that are safe, allow menstrual hygiene management and do not pollute the underground drinking water sources. We pilot the reuse of nutrients and wastewater including the use in small-scale biogas. Our activities contribute to achieving the human right to water and sanitation. We therefore share our experience with decision makers in policy processes such as the Protocol on Water and Health and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Ecosan Solutions

We have built Urine Diverting Dry Toilets (UDDT) or so called Ecosan toilets in many schools and households in rural areas of Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Tajikistan and Afghanistan the past 15 years. We constructed demonstration models for modern sustainable dry sanitation such as urine diverting dry toilets (UDDT or Ecosan) for households, schools, community centres and town halls. The models, seat models for households and squatting models for public places, were shown mainly in regions were centralised piped water and/or sewage systems are lacking and were often replicated by municipalities or international NGOs.

For the safe use of human excreta in agriculture, WHO guidelines are applied for the treatment and safe re-use of the separated urine and faecal matter. Urine is stored in reservoirs for 6 months before it is safe for usage as a fertiliser in agriculture; the covered and dry faecal matter is stored for at least one year and used as soil conditioner. Wash water of the schools is drained off and treated in a simple sand filter. As ecosan toilets are build inhouse, as opposed to conventional pit latrines, they have proven to be a well working solution and a considerable improvement for the environment, for the dignity of the users and their comfort (think of menstrual health), particularly in areas with cold winters. On top of this, as the toilets are stalled inside, women and girls do not have to go out and be afraid to be sexually harassed on their way to the toilets.

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