plan 438Enhancing the Sustainability of Ecological Latrines: Replacement of Toilet Inserts

Summary

This project will enhance the sustainability of 63 ecological latrines by replacing the current metal toilet inserts with new inserts made of fiber glass and plastic

Background

Prior to 2011 in the rural village of Paisaje and the peri-urban neighborhoods of Rodeo, Paraíso and Litoral located in the outskirts of the city of Montero approximately half of the population used shallow latrines to eliminate excrement while the other half defecated in the open air. The pit latrines caused problems of odor and attracted flies and insects which acted as vectors, bringing the contamination inside the home. This greatly impacted the health of the communities. The situation was constantly aggravated by long periods of rain, causing the latrines to overflow and expose more excrement.

To improve sanitation in these communities, from January, 2011 to March, 2012, with funding from Rotary International, Etta Projects implemented a Comprehensive Sanitation Improvements Project using the ecological latrine model. The ecological latrine (otherwise known as the dry composting latrine) is a successful, low cost, eco-friendly alternative that has been implemented by numerous NGOs throughout Bolivia and the rest of the developing world, including INCADE, Water for People and UNICEF. In total, Etta Projects completed a total of 69 latrines in the four communities.

Currently the project has observed many successes. Based on our most recent assessment of the latrines, 87% (60 of the 69 families) were correctly maintaining their latrine (latrine had the necessary materials, had no sign of odors, were clean and sanitary). The one problem that we did observe is the deterioration of the toilets.

The most commonly used toilet model for the ecological bathroom is made out of cement. When one chamber is filled, the family needs to move the toilet from one chamber to the other.

The cement toilet is heavy and fragile and therefore frequently cracks and breaks when moving the toilet between the two chambers or removing it to clean the bowl. In fact, based on an evaluation of past ecological latrines (built prior to this project by other NGOs) revealed that more than 65% of the cement toilets were broken or cracked, and of those more than 35% were not in use due to extensive damages.

The problems related to the cement toilets motivated our staff to investigate and experiment with other options for the toilet. We aimed to develop a more durable model with less weight that would be easier to clean and transport that could be utilized in our pilot ecological latrine project.

With support from local Engineers and a team of students and teachers from Engineers Without Borders we designed a light weight, easy-to-clean, easy-to-transport, affordable alternative. Like the traditional model, the base of the toilet is made of cement. The base, however, is built directly into the latrine floor. There are two round cylinders built above each chamber instead of two holes as in the traditional model. The cylinders are secured into the floor with iron rods. Etta Projects designed a metal insert made from sheet metal that is .9 mm thick. The insert slides directly into the cement cylinder in use. The metal attachment creates the division for the two holes in the bowl of the toilet. A normal plastic toilet seat can be attached to the metal divider for added comfort.

When it comes time to transferring to the second chamber or cleaning the toilet, the family only needs to remove the light-weight metal divider (instead of the entire heavy toilet seat). Since it is not as heavy and cumbersome as the first model, families can frequently remove the metal insert to clean it, therefore promoting a more sanitary bathroom.

Despite the important advantages that the new toilet model brings to the sustainability of the ecological bathroom, we began to discover some setbacks months after constructing the latrines. The metal insert began to oxidize and rust. The black industrial paint that we used over the metal peeled away. Participating families grew apprehensive to clean the insert because cleaning caused further removal of the paint.

As the inserts continue to deteriorate, 63 latrines are at high-risk for incorrect use or discontinued use of their ecological latrine. We believe that by changing the material of the insert not only can we create a more sustainable model for this latrine, but also a viable alternative for future ecological latrine projects.

Location

Paisaje, El Rodeo, Paraiso, and Litoral, Paisaje is in the Muncipality of Warnes. Rodeo, Paraiso and Litoral are in the Municipality of Montero. Both Municipalities are in the Department of Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Attachments

  • Pptx Fotos_de...
  • Doc toilet_s...
  • Xlsx Toilet_B...
  • Pdf Cotizaci...
  • Pptx Ecologic...
  • Pdf Before_a...

Focus

Primary Focus: Sanitation - Households
Secondary Focus: Hygiene Education

People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 0

School Children Getting Water: 0

People Getting Sanitation: 361

361 people; including 63 families, 95 men, 114 women and 152 children

People Getting Other Benefits: 361

From January, 2011 to March, 2012 the 63 participating families constructed an ecological latrine. In addition a minimum of one person per family participated in hygiene and sanitation training (117 people completed the education program by attending a minimum of six of the eight workshops). Seven local women received training to be Sanitation Promoters. 126 children participated in a Children’s Program, consisting of workshops and activities related to water, hygiene and sanitation.

Application Type: Program Funding

Start Date: 2012-09-01

Completion Date: 2012-12-01

Technology Used:

The ecological latrine is unique in that it built above ground and does not require plumbing or water for usage. The bathroom is built on top of a double vault system (the chambers are divided by a thick cement wall), with one chamber in use at any given time. A toilet seat with two holes separates urine from fecal matter. Only fecal matter enters the disposal chamber where it is contained. When the chamber fills, the toilet seat is moved to the second chamber and fecal matter in the first chamber begins the composting process. When the second chamber is filled, compost from the first chamber is removed, and the process starts over. After each use of the latrine, dry material (ash or lime) is added to prevent odor, repel bugs and support decomposition. Toilet paper can be thrown into the latrine and will not disrupt decomposition. The process of alternating usage of the pits and excavating compost must be maintained for the toilet to function and be sustainable. The above-ground model eliminates risk of fecal matter leaking into ground water.

The toilet of an ecological toilet looks similar to a traditional toilet; however the bowl is divided into a small front hole for the urine and a larger rear hole for the fecal matter. The urine leaves the bathroom structure through a tube (most often buried under the ground a few meters away from the latrine), while the fecal matter falls directly into the chamber. There is a round hole built into the top side of each chamber creating two holes in the cement floor of the bathroom. The base of the cement toilet fits directly into the hole of the chamber that is in use, allowing the fecal matter to fall into the chamber. The second chamber not in use is covered by a small cement top.

Prior to initiating the project Etta Projects visited over eight villages throughout the municipalities of Savvedra and San Pedro to evaluate the sustainability and impact of the project. The most prevalent challenge was the cement toilet seat. Participants of these past project complained of the toilets’ heavy weight and fragile material. We observed many broken toilets as well as toilets with cracks.

Our team was determined to design a new toilet that was lighter and more durable. We accomplished this, through the design of a metal insert described above. Despite the benefits of the actual design, the material used proved to lack sustainability.

Project staff consulted with various experts to investigate options to replace the metal insert. Our combined efforts led us to a new model that utilizes the same concept as the current model, but replaces the metal inserts with a new insert made out of fiber glass and dipped in plastic. The total cost of the new insert is $55 per latrine. The company Industrias SER located in Parque Industrial Manzana in the city of Santa Cruz is manufacturing the new toilet insert. They provided us with a guarantee of ten years.

In March of 2012, Etta Projects purchased inserts for six families in the village Paisaje. Since then, we have been doing continual monitoring and evaluation. Thus far the new model has proven to be sustainable showing no signs of deterioration. This project requests the purchase of 63 more latrines so that all 69 families can have a sustainable toilet.

Phases:

Yes, the project will be done in one phase.

Community Organization:

The first component of the latrine project in each community was to raise public awareness of the project and organize within the community. In each of the communities meetings were held with the members of the village, during which sanitation and health topics were discussed, such as “water related illnesses” and “The danger of excrement”. These meetings were designed to demonstrate and underline the importance of implementing an adequate sanitation system, with the end result of improving the level of personal health and hygiene.

The workshops achieved their objective, and the population actively supported the implementation of an adequate sanitation system for eliminating fecal matter.

In the second series of workshops two themes were touched upon: “Different options for an adequate sanitation system” and “The Benefits of dry ecological bathrooms.” The families understood the benefits and elected to move forward with the project. Families began to organize and sign up to participate in the project.

Sanitation Promoters were elected from the community by the community. These Sanitation Promoters led and directed the entire project, including training workshops and monitoring & evaluation activities. The promoters received training and motivation that will allow them to continue driving the Project once it is over. Throughout the project they made household visits with the families to provide and reinforce the sanitation training. They also used a stoplight system (categories green, yellow and red) to monitor of correct usage and maintenance of the ecological bathrooms.

The Second Phase of the Project was the self-construction of the ecological bathrooms. Construction staff met with the chosen families in each of the four communities to explain the process of constructing the bathrooms.

The constructions began in the village of Paisaje in the Municipality of Warnes and laster moved to the peri-urban neighborhood in Montero; Rodeo, Paraíso and Litoral. The ecological bathrooms were built in phases with the participation and help of each family. This allowed them to put into practice what they had learned during the construction workshops, and understand how the bathrooms were built in order to later be capable of carrying out adequate maintenance of the bathrooms when necessary.

The project had excellent participation both in the training workshops and the construction process. Men, women and children actively participated in the activities. Almost all families are correctly maintaining their latrine; however it is critical we replace the metal insert with a more sustainable option to guarantee long-term sanitation improvement.

Government Interaction:

The Municipality of Warnes changed mayors two times during the course of the project. Each turnover caused a delay in the advancements of securing local government support, despite the fact that the first mayor signed a legal agreement committing the municipality’s support to the project. Unfortunately the project was completed in Paisaje before obtaining a financial contribution from the local government. In Montero, the local municipality was extremely active. They participated in all phases of the project and frequently visited the neighborhoods to contribute to a training session or oversee the construction process. They also made a financial contribution to the project towards construction materials totaling $5,912.

Ancillary activities:

Other Issues:

Etta Projects worked with all four communities in water projects prior to the ecological latrine project. After actively participating in the hygiene and sanitation workshops during the water projects, community members recognized the importance of improved sanitation. They solicited Etta Projects and their local municipality to support a sanitation project. From the start this was a community-driven effort. Data shows participants are invested in using and maintaining their latrine. We are confident this project will have long-term, positive results once we resolve the toilet issue.

Maintenance Revenue:

The families that are currently utilizing the ecological latrines have totally transformed their sanitation system. If they continue to correctly maintain their new ecological latrines, they will have a way in which to safely dispose of their human waste for approximately 20 years. Furthermore, the educational component of the project that promotes safe hygiene habits will continue to contribute to improved health inthe community.

All sanitation technologies require maintenance to function properly, and the dry composting latrine is no different. Tubes need to be checked periodically for blockage. Vent pipes should also be checked to be sure they are not covered with debris or nests. The compost in the chamber in-use should be stirred and spread evening in the chamber with a stick. Once a chamber is filled the compost needs to be removed from the second chamber, and the toilet insert needs to be move to the alternate side. The toilet not in use needs to be covered. The compost can be buried or used as fertilizers. Urine pipes should be flushed periodically to avoid accumulation of deposits, which can block the flow and generate unpleasant odors. After each use dry material such as ash should be thrown into the chamber along with toilet paper. The toilet insert should be removed and cleaned continually. The annual cost is minimum for common use.

Maintenance Cost: $3

Metrics:

The project will maintain its current schedule of monitoring and evaluating the project by making monthly visits to the four villages. This project tracks: use and maintenance of latrine, presence of common latrine problems (odor, insect-born disease, flooding, ground water contamination), presence of all necessary materials (stirring rod, dry material, toilet paper/paper, etc), satisfaction of the latrine, use of compost, sustainability of both the latrine and toilet inserts.

Cost: $60,197

See attachment

Co Funding Amount: $250

Etta Projects will provide $250 towards in-kind contributions. Rotary International contributed $47,750 to fund the implementation of 69 latrines (included in this funding in project staff, capacity building, transportation, and administrative training). The Municipality of Montero contributed an additional $5,912 towards construction materials. Etta Projects also purchased 6 inserts, totaling $330.

Community Contribution Amount: $2,072

Each family contributed 350 Bs (or $51.47) towards their ecological latrine, totaling $3551.47. Families also provided manual labor towards the construction of their latrine.

Fund Requested: $55,800

Implementing Organization:

Attachments

  • Pptx Fotos_de...
  • Doc toilet_s...
  • Xlsx Toilet_B...
  • Pdf Cotizaci...
  • Pptx Ecologic...
  • Pdf Before_a...
  • 2 participants | show more

    Carolyn Meub of Pure Water for the World

    Good morning, This looks like a very interesting latrine design. I was wondering if during the Different Options for Adequate Sanitation Systems, if other latrine models were discussed? If so, what was it about the model selected that encouraged the families to proceed? Thanks! Jamin Pure Water

    Good morning,

    This looks like a very interesting latrine design. I was wondering if during the Different Options for Adequate Sanitation Systems, if other latrine models were discussed? If so, what was it about the model selected that encouraged the families to proceed?

    Thanks!
    Jamin
    Pure Water

    • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

      Hi Jamin, Thanks so much for your inquiry. Prior to starting the project we learned that about half of the participants defecated in the open air and the other half in shallow pit latrines. The pit latrines, although a common alternative in some areas, cause much contamination in Eastern Bolivia due to the high water tables. The latr...

      Hi Jamin,

      Thanks so much for your inquiry. Prior to starting the project we learned that about half of the participants defecated in the open air and the other half in shallow pit latrines. The pit latrines, although a common alternative in some areas, cause much contamination in Eastern Bolivia due to the high water tables. The latrines both overflow during the heavy rainy season and cause surface water contamination (particularly for people living on small lots that get their water from shallow water wells).

      During our needs assessment we saw that families with more resources (less than 5% of the residents) use flushable toilets with small septic tanks. Not only is this model triple the cost to build and maintain, but also is a source of water contamination.

      We also learned through interviews that for many people to invest their own time and money in the latrine, they prefer to continue open defecating or using very rudimentary pit latrines than invest in anything less than a bathroom that allows them to have a real toilet seat and add features such as a ceramic tiles and a shower.

      Given the logistics and interests of this area, we began studying various models of the eco latrine built in surrounding areas built by other NGOs such as INCADE, Water for People and UNICEF. Some models used the typical cement toilet seat which we observed the problems mentioned above. A few organizations used a porcelain model of the toilet seat. This model costs approximately $85 (plus shipping from Cochabamba), making it not only expensive but difficult for families to purchase if the toilet breaks. It is also recommended that you purchase two toilets per latrine (one for each chamber) since they are fragile and need to be secured into the floor (making it more difficult to interchange between chambers).

      Our goal was to develop a cost-effective model of the ecological latrine that was easy-to-use and sustainable and responded to the challenges we observed from current models.

      In March of 2012 we purchased six inserts of the new fiber glass/plastic toilet inserts presented in this project and to date they have had no negative issues. I have been in Bolivia for the past few weeks and had the opportunity to speak with the current users. They are extremely satisfied with the results and the new inserts show new deterioration.

      Etta Projects is a small organization that is always excited and eager to learn new alternatives. I’d love any suggestions you may have as well.

      Thanks much and I hope to hear back from you shortly.

      Take good care,
      Katie Chandler

  • 2 participants | show more

    Replace all?

    Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

    Hi, Do you need to replace all at this very time? I understand the need to replace the broken ones. Yes, moving the concrete ones is a pain, but hopefully the men in the community can help in moving - only one day of work in a long-time. Replacing all will just create a landfill problem, some of it for no reason. As observed by other...

    Hi,

    Do you need to replace all at this very time? I understand the need to replace the broken ones. Yes, moving the concrete ones is a pain, but hopefully the men in the community can help in moving - only one day of work in a long-time.

    Replacing all will just create a landfill problem, some of it for no reason. As observed by others, concrete does last a long time if handled carefully.

    As you mention going forward to new projects, you can use the new model and continue learning and adapting.

    Regards,
    Rajesh

    • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

      Hi Rajesh, Again I want to clarify that the cement toilets were never included in our original design. The first latrines we constructed in the 2011 pilot project used the revised version of the toilet with the metal inserts sliding into the cement base. Our motivation to substitute the complete cement toilet with the toilet inserts was...

      Hi Rajesh,

      Again I want to clarify that the cement toilets were never included in our original design. The first latrines we constructed in the 2011 pilot project used the revised version of the toilet with the metal inserts sliding into the cement base. Our motivation to substitute the complete cement toilet with the toilet inserts was made prior to beginning construction in 2011 during the needs assessment of ecological latrines built by other NGOs, not Etta Projects. All 69 latrines built over the course of the year used the metal insert design and need to be replaced.

      I want to add that over the last month I had the opportunity to visit the sample of families that have received the new fiber glass and plastic inserts. They are in great shape and show no signs of deterioration and had great feedback from families (easy to remove, easy to clean, resistant, etc).

      Thanks again!

      Katie

      • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

        I realize that there is still some confusion and I hope to better explain. Essentially instead of building the whole toilet seat from cement we began the project by building the base of the toilet from cement (one above each chamber) with an interchangeable insert. The inserts prevents the whole heavy toile from being needed to removed f...

        I realize that there is still some confusion and I hope to better explain. Essentially instead of building the whole toilet seat from cement we began the project by building the base of the toilet from cement (one above each chamber) with an interchangeable insert. The inserts prevents the whole heavy toile from being needed to removed for cleaning or for interchanging between chambers. This projects aims to only replace the metal inserts with ones made locally from fiber glass and plastic. We will not replace the cement base of the toilet. Again, the inserts slide directly into a cement cylinder built into the latrine landing (or raised floor)- one above each chamber. The insert creates the division in the toilet seat that separates urine from fecal matter and can be easily removed. A regular toilet seat is added to the insert for further comfort.

        There are pictures in the attachment section that may help further clarifications.

        Please let me know if you have any other questions.

        Thanks,
        Katie

    • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

      I realize that there is still some confusion and I hope to better explain. Essentially instead of building the whole toilet seat from cement we began the project by building the base of the toilet from cement (one above each chamber) with an interchangeable insert. The inserts prevents the whole heavy toile from being needed to removed f...

      I realize that there is still some confusion and I hope to better explain. Essentially instead of building the whole toilet seat from cement we began the project by building the base of the toilet from cement (one above each chamber) with an interchangeable insert. The inserts prevents the whole heavy toile from being needed to removed for cleaning or for interchanging between chambers. This projects aims to only replace the metal inserts with ones made locally from fiber glass and plastic. We will not replace the cement base of the toilet. Again, the inserts slide directly into a cement cylinder built into the latrine landing (or raised floor)- one above each chamber. The insert creates the division in the toilet seat that separates urine from fecal matter and can be easily removed. A regular toilet seat is added to the insert for further comfort.

      There are pictures in the attachment section that may help further clarifications.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Thanks,
      Katie

  • 3 participants | show more

    Visual

    Juergen Puetz of PALMYRA

    Dear Friend, I request you to put some pictures to see the module / the design to know about the techniques involved in it. Thanks, Dhanam

    Dear Friend,

    I request you to put some pictures to see the module / the design to know about the techniques involved in it.

    Thanks,

    Dhanam

    • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

      Hi Dhanam, Thank you for the question. I included some pictures of both the ecological latrine as well as the inserts in the section of the application that allows for additional documents. Were you able to view these? Would you like to see something additional? Please let me know if I can provide any other supplemental materials....

      Hi Dhanam,

      Thank you for the question. I included some pictures of both the ecological latrine as well as the inserts in the section of the application that allows for additional documents. Were you able to view these? Would you like to see something additional?

      Please let me know if I can provide any other supplemental materials.

      Have a great day,

      Katie Chandler

    • Juergen Puetz of PALMYRA

      Dear Sir, Thank You for your reply. I have seen some of your pictures in the application form. We constructed Eco-san toilet in coastal area. I think you have not fixed aeration pipe inside the 2 partition. If you fix it it will observe the moisture in the fecal mater and also helps to dry quickly as a compost. After use the ho...

      Dear Sir,

      Thank You for your reply. I have seen some of your pictures in the application form.

      We constructed Eco-san toilet in coastal area. I think you have not fixed aeration pipe inside the 2 partition. If you fix it it will observe the moisture in the fecal mater and also helps to dry quickly as a compost.

      After use the hole, it has to be covered with lid or any other material. You may change from metal to fiber glass with coated plastic.

      You can see some pictures of eco-san toilet (Scope/Palmyra/Eco-pro NGOs in Tamilnadu)

      Thanks,

      Dhanam

      • Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

        Did you see this post by Dhanam? Can you confirm that you have aeration pipe? If not, maybe you can put one now? Thanks, Rajesh

        Did you see this post by Dhanam?

        Can you confirm that you have aeration pipe? If not, maybe you can put one now?

        Thanks,
        Rajesh

    • Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

      Did you see this post by Dhanam? Can you confirm that you have aeration pipe? If not, maybe you can put one now? Thanks, Rajesh

      Did you see this post by Dhanam?

      Can you confirm that you have aeration pipe? If not, maybe you can put one now?

      Thanks,
      Rajesh

  • 2 participants | show more

    Jenna Saldaña of El Porvenir

    Hello, We built quite similar latrines with the people of Nicaragua, so I read with interest your application and how you build the double pit latrines. We also have children's programs and local trained promoters. That all sounds great, and this type of technology is simple and effective. I have two questions/concerns: 1. I've neve...

    Hello,
    We built quite similar latrines with the people of Nicaragua, so I read with interest your application and how you build the double pit latrines. We also have children's programs and local trained promoters. That all sounds great, and this type of technology is simple and effective.

    I have two questions/concerns:
    1. I've never heard concrete described as fragile before. I'm curious what was happening when the toilet seats were moved that caused the concrete to become damaged. Are the seats reinforced with rebar? Are they thin? We use concrete seats, and this has not been a problem for us.

    2. In looking at the overall cost per latrine (what has already been spent and what is requested for the new inserts), I calculate that each latrine will cost $837. I wonder if you can explain this high cost.

    Thank you,
    Jenna
    El Porvenir

    • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

      Hi there! Thank you both for your comments. I appreciate all the inquiries about the project. This project has been a learning experience. What we learned has mostly been positive, but we did face challenging lessons as well. This toilet issue has been the most challenging. We took a risk by changing the model because we recognized...

      Hi there!

      Thank you both for your comments. I appreciate all the inquiries about the project. This project has been a learning experience. What we learned has mostly been positive, but we did face challenging lessons as well. This toilet issue has been the most challenging. We took a risk by changing the model because we recognized a major issue with the traditional model and aimed to create something more sustainable. I think overall the model is better, but unfortunately we used the wrong material. Our goal in this project is to correct that error.

      As you probably gathered from the proposal, the 2011 latrine project was a pilot project. Prior to implementing the systems, we visited villages from two distinct municipalities that had the same model implemented by other NGOs. The single, continual problem we observed was related to the cement toilet. We found that the cement toilets are prone to accidents and breakage because of their heavy weight. They weigh 66 pounds, making it difficult to remove and difficult to carry for cleaning or for alternating between the two chambers. According to the participants and our observations, they cracked when they had to alternate between chambers or take them out to clean them. We learned that almost always the women in the household take on the responsibility of cleaning and maintaining the latrine, and the cement toilets are bulky, heavy and difficult to maneuver. I have included photos of some examples of the problems we encountered.

      As far as the cost, the cost of the materials for the latrine is broken down as follows:

      Base of the latrine (chambers, tubing, back doors, toilet, infant toilet, stairs): $253.14

      Roof (turned into families upon completion of the walls): $52.50

      Total In Latrine Materials (per latrine): $305.64

      (Each family contributes the walls and door of their latrine.)

      Other project expenses included in the budget were: community hygiene education, health sanitation promoter training, monitoring and evaluation, health sanitation stipends, transportation of materials, transportation of staff, food, and staff stipends. The stipends for this project include a % of the In-Country Project Director plus a fulltime project facilitator (this position is a local doctor who has experience working in public health, particularly in rural areas), and a fulltime construction manager. The stipends in this initial project also included a research and planning phase prior to the project implementation phase used for research, training, elaborating education materials, securing agreements with the municipalities and finalizing the design.

      Hope this answers your questions. Thanks again for the great conversation.

      Katie

      • Jenna Saldaña of El Porvenir

        Hi, I can't help but wonder if there was something wrong in the making of the concrete seats as concrete is so sturdy, but that's irrelevant at this point as you have already moved on twice to other solutions. What are your thoughts on re-doing your own projects? I ask because we also pilot projects and unless there is a clear error...

        Hi,
        I can't help but wonder if there was something wrong in the making of the concrete seats as concrete is so sturdy, but that's irrelevant at this point as you have already moved on twice to other solutions.

        What are your thoughts on re-doing your own projects? I ask because we also pilot projects and unless there is a clear error on our part, we do not go back and rehab our own projects. Is that how you feel? That it was error on your side with the materials? In a case like this, we would expect the community to buy new seats rather than us paying for them. I'm curious to hear your thoughts as it's an ongoing conversation with us, deciding what our responsibility is and what our community partner's responsibility is. They are tough decisions to make.

        Thank you for your thoughtful answers above--
        Jenna

        • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

          Hi Jenna, Thank you very much for your response and thoughts about the project. I appreciate the comments. I agree that normally the community should contribute towards solutions. Our team spoke a lot about this as well and ultimately feel that this was a technical error that we should fix. Etta Projects always strives to crea...

          Hi Jenna,

          Thank you very much for your response and thoughts about the project. I appreciate the comments. I agree that normally the community should contribute towards solutions. Our team spoke a lot about this as well and ultimately feel that this was a technical error that we should fix.

          Etta Projects always strives to create projects with community leadership, participation and contribution. Prior to initiating the project Etta Projects brought villagers from the communities where we were planning on implementing the sanitation project to visit communities that were already using the ecological latrines (implemented by the nonprofit INCADE). This gave villagers the opportunity to see the model, ask questions and form their own opinions. During these visits the most common complaint from existing users stemmed from the cement toilets. We observed that the toilets were chipped and damaged at the base of the toilet. Participants said this occurred when they were trying to lower the heavy toilets into the holes changing between chambers or taking them out to clean them. The chips and cracks prevented the chambers from sealing and caused them to wobble when sitting on the toilet seat. Moreover, the floor around the opening for the toilet was broken and cracked because families dropped the heavy cement toilets down with force. Some families that had stopped using the latrine said it was just too difficult to maintain because the parts were too heavy and bulky. Of the 15 families we interviewed, 14 said the cement toilet was difficult to move and manage. Two reported accidents, one falling with the toilet and the other dropping the toilet down the stairs. In one home where an elderly woman lives, she never changed her toilet seat and stopped using the latrine altogether. Based on this information, we decided to investigate alternatives for the toilet seat. The community agreed that wanted a different seat, but they did not choose the new design.

          I think our design is innovative and corrects the problems mentioned above, but we unfortunately used a material that simply was not sustainable. We were told if we put a protective paint over the sheet metal, it would sustain. The metal eroded and oxidized; it simply did not hold up against the conditions. We spoke to local engineers and a visiting group of Engineers Without Borders prior to fabricating them, but they did not predict these issues either.

          The families already contributed to the latrines by making a financial contribution and to the labor. We feel they fulfilled their agreed upon responsibilities to the project.

          Thanks much! Please let me know if you have any other questions.

          Take good care,
          Katie

        • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

          Hi Jenna, I was reading over the questions and answers of this project, and I just wanted to clarify that this is the first modification that Etta Projects has made since we began construction of the latrines. The cement toilets were never included in our original design and no funding went towards purchasing cement toilets. The first...

          Hi Jenna,

          I was reading over the questions and answers of this project, and I just wanted to clarify that this is the first modification that Etta Projects has made since we began construction of the latrines. The cement toilets were never included in our original design and no funding went towards purchasing cement toilets. The first latrine we constructed used the revised version of the toilet with the metal inserts. Our motivation to substitute the cement toilet with toilet inserts was made prior to beginning construction during the needs assessment of ecological latrines built by other NGOs, not Etta Projects. Please note, the decision to alter the toilet design was supported by members of Etta Projects Bolivian staff, out International partner Engineers Without Borders and community members that were visiting villages with us and participating in the assessment of existing designs. In your comment above it appears you may have understood that funding has gone into this project to make modifications twice (beginning with the cement toilet)....again, wanted to clarify if that's the case. Thanks again for your comments and feedback!

      • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

        Hi Jenna, Thank you very much for your response and thoughts about the project. I appreciate the comments. I agree that normally the community should contribute towards solutions. Our team spoke a lot about this as well and ultimately feel that this was a technical error that we should fix. Etta Projects always strives to crea...

        Hi Jenna,

        Thank you very much for your response and thoughts about the project. I appreciate the comments. I agree that normally the community should contribute towards solutions. Our team spoke a lot about this as well and ultimately feel that this was a technical error that we should fix.

        Etta Projects always strives to create projects with community leadership, participation and contribution. Prior to initiating the project Etta Projects brought villagers from the communities where we were planning on implementing the sanitation project to visit communities that were already using the ecological latrines (implemented by the nonprofit INCADE). This gave villagers the opportunity to see the model, ask questions and form their own opinions. During these visits the most common complaint from existing users stemmed from the cement toilets. We observed that the toilets were chipped and damaged at the base of the toilet. Participants said this occurred when they were trying to lower the heavy toilets into the holes changing between chambers or taking them out to clean them. The chips and cracks prevented the chambers from sealing and caused them to wobble when sitting on the toilet seat. Moreover, the floor around the opening for the toilet was broken and cracked because families dropped the heavy cement toilets down with force. Some families that had stopped using the latrine said it was just too difficult to maintain because the parts were too heavy and bulky. Of the 15 families we interviewed, 14 said the cement toilet was difficult to move and manage. Two reported accidents, one falling with the toilet and the other dropping the toilet down the stairs. In one home where an elderly woman lives, she never changed her toilet seat and stopped using the latrine altogether. Based on this information, we decided to investigate alternatives for the toilet seat. The community agreed that wanted a different seat, but they did not choose the new design.

        I think our design is innovative and corrects the problems mentioned above, but we unfortunately used a material that simply was not sustainable. We were told if we put a protective paint over the sheet metal, it would sustain. The metal eroded and oxidized; it simply did not hold up against the conditions. We spoke to local engineers and a visiting group of Engineers Without Borders prior to fabricating them, but they did not predict these issues either.

        The families already contributed to the latrines by making a financial contribution and to the labor. We feel they fulfilled their agreed upon responsibilities to the project.

        Thanks much! Please let me know if you have any other questions.

        Take good care,
        Katie

      • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

        Hi Jenna, I was reading over the questions and answers of this project, and I just wanted to clarify that this is the first modification that Etta Projects has made since we began construction of the latrines. The cement toilets were never included in our original design and no funding went towards purchasing cement toilets. The first...

        Hi Jenna,

        I was reading over the questions and answers of this project, and I just wanted to clarify that this is the first modification that Etta Projects has made since we began construction of the latrines. The cement toilets were never included in our original design and no funding went towards purchasing cement toilets. The first latrine we constructed used the revised version of the toilet with the metal inserts. Our motivation to substitute the cement toilet with toilet inserts was made prior to beginning construction during the needs assessment of ecological latrines built by other NGOs, not Etta Projects. Please note, the decision to alter the toilet design was supported by members of Etta Projects Bolivian staff, out International partner Engineers Without Borders and community members that were visiting villages with us and participating in the assessment of existing designs. In your comment above it appears you may have understood that funding has gone into this project to make modifications twice (beginning with the cement toilet)....again, wanted to clarify if that's the case. Thanks again for your comments and feedback!

    • Jenna Saldaña of El Porvenir

      Hi, I can't help but wonder if there was something wrong in the making of the concrete seats as concrete is so sturdy, but that's irrelevant at this point as you have already moved on twice to other solutions. What are your thoughts on re-doing your own projects? I ask because we also pilot projects and unless there is a clear error...

      Hi,
      I can't help but wonder if there was something wrong in the making of the concrete seats as concrete is so sturdy, but that's irrelevant at this point as you have already moved on twice to other solutions.

      What are your thoughts on re-doing your own projects? I ask because we also pilot projects and unless there is a clear error on our part, we do not go back and rehab our own projects. Is that how you feel? That it was error on your side with the materials? In a case like this, we would expect the community to buy new seats rather than us paying for them. I'm curious to hear your thoughts as it's an ongoing conversation with us, deciding what our responsibility is and what our community partner's responsibility is. They are tough decisions to make.

      Thank you for your thoughtful answers above--
      Jenna

      • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

        Hi Jenna, Thank you very much for your response and thoughts about the project. I appreciate the comments. I agree that normally the community should contribute towards solutions. Our team spoke a lot about this as well and ultimately feel that this was a technical error that we should fix. Etta Projects always strives to crea...

        Hi Jenna,

        Thank you very much for your response and thoughts about the project. I appreciate the comments. I agree that normally the community should contribute towards solutions. Our team spoke a lot about this as well and ultimately feel that this was a technical error that we should fix.

        Etta Projects always strives to create projects with community leadership, participation and contribution. Prior to initiating the project Etta Projects brought villagers from the communities where we were planning on implementing the sanitation project to visit communities that were already using the ecological latrines (implemented by the nonprofit INCADE). This gave villagers the opportunity to see the model, ask questions and form their own opinions. During these visits the most common complaint from existing users stemmed from the cement toilets. We observed that the toilets were chipped and damaged at the base of the toilet. Participants said this occurred when they were trying to lower the heavy toilets into the holes changing between chambers or taking them out to clean them. The chips and cracks prevented the chambers from sealing and caused them to wobble when sitting on the toilet seat. Moreover, the floor around the opening for the toilet was broken and cracked because families dropped the heavy cement toilets down with force. Some families that had stopped using the latrine said it was just too difficult to maintain because the parts were too heavy and bulky. Of the 15 families we interviewed, 14 said the cement toilet was difficult to move and manage. Two reported accidents, one falling with the toilet and the other dropping the toilet down the stairs. In one home where an elderly woman lives, she never changed her toilet seat and stopped using the latrine altogether. Based on this information, we decided to investigate alternatives for the toilet seat. The community agreed that wanted a different seat, but they did not choose the new design.

        I think our design is innovative and corrects the problems mentioned above, but we unfortunately used a material that simply was not sustainable. We were told if we put a protective paint over the sheet metal, it would sustain. The metal eroded and oxidized; it simply did not hold up against the conditions. We spoke to local engineers and a visiting group of Engineers Without Borders prior to fabricating them, but they did not predict these issues either.

        The families already contributed to the latrines by making a financial contribution and to the labor. We feel they fulfilled their agreed upon responsibilities to the project.

        Thanks much! Please let me know if you have any other questions.

        Take good care,
        Katie

      • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

        Hi Jenna, I was reading over the questions and answers of this project, and I just wanted to clarify that this is the first modification that Etta Projects has made since we began construction of the latrines. The cement toilets were never included in our original design and no funding went towards purchasing cement toilets. The first...

        Hi Jenna,

        I was reading over the questions and answers of this project, and I just wanted to clarify that this is the first modification that Etta Projects has made since we began construction of the latrines. The cement toilets were never included in our original design and no funding went towards purchasing cement toilets. The first latrine we constructed used the revised version of the toilet with the metal inserts. Our motivation to substitute the cement toilet with toilet inserts was made prior to beginning construction during the needs assessment of ecological latrines built by other NGOs, not Etta Projects. Please note, the decision to alter the toilet design was supported by members of Etta Projects Bolivian staff, out International partner Engineers Without Borders and community members that were visiting villages with us and participating in the assessment of existing designs. In your comment above it appears you may have understood that funding has gone into this project to make modifications twice (beginning with the cement toilet)....again, wanted to clarify if that's the case. Thanks again for your comments and feedback!

    • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

      Hi Jenna, Thank you very much for your response and thoughts about the project. I appreciate the comments. I agree that normally the community should contribute towards solutions. Our team spoke a lot about this as well and ultimately feel that this was a technical error that we should fix. Etta Projects always strives to crea...

      Hi Jenna,

      Thank you very much for your response and thoughts about the project. I appreciate the comments. I agree that normally the community should contribute towards solutions. Our team spoke a lot about this as well and ultimately feel that this was a technical error that we should fix.

      Etta Projects always strives to create projects with community leadership, participation and contribution. Prior to initiating the project Etta Projects brought villagers from the communities where we were planning on implementing the sanitation project to visit communities that were already using the ecological latrines (implemented by the nonprofit INCADE). This gave villagers the opportunity to see the model, ask questions and form their own opinions. During these visits the most common complaint from existing users stemmed from the cement toilets. We observed that the toilets were chipped and damaged at the base of the toilet. Participants said this occurred when they were trying to lower the heavy toilets into the holes changing between chambers or taking them out to clean them. The chips and cracks prevented the chambers from sealing and caused them to wobble when sitting on the toilet seat. Moreover, the floor around the opening for the toilet was broken and cracked because families dropped the heavy cement toilets down with force. Some families that had stopped using the latrine said it was just too difficult to maintain because the parts were too heavy and bulky. Of the 15 families we interviewed, 14 said the cement toilet was difficult to move and manage. Two reported accidents, one falling with the toilet and the other dropping the toilet down the stairs. In one home where an elderly woman lives, she never changed her toilet seat and stopped using the latrine altogether. Based on this information, we decided to investigate alternatives for the toilet seat. The community agreed that wanted a different seat, but they did not choose the new design.

      I think our design is innovative and corrects the problems mentioned above, but we unfortunately used a material that simply was not sustainable. We were told if we put a protective paint over the sheet metal, it would sustain. The metal eroded and oxidized; it simply did not hold up against the conditions. We spoke to local engineers and a visiting group of Engineers Without Borders prior to fabricating them, but they did not predict these issues either.

      The families already contributed to the latrines by making a financial contribution and to the labor. We feel they fulfilled their agreed upon responsibilities to the project.

      Thanks much! Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Take good care,
      Katie

    • Katie Chandler of Etta Projects

      Hi Jenna, I was reading over the questions and answers of this project, and I just wanted to clarify that this is the first modification that Etta Projects has made since we began construction of the latrines. The cement toilets were never included in our original design and no funding went towards purchasing cement toilets. The first...

      Hi Jenna,

      I was reading over the questions and answers of this project, and I just wanted to clarify that this is the first modification that Etta Projects has made since we began construction of the latrines. The cement toilets were never included in our original design and no funding went towards purchasing cement toilets. The first latrine we constructed used the revised version of the toilet with the metal inserts. Our motivation to substitute the cement toilet with toilet inserts was made prior to beginning construction during the needs assessment of ecological latrines built by other NGOs, not Etta Projects. Please note, the decision to alter the toilet design was supported by members of Etta Projects Bolivian staff, out International partner Engineers Without Borders and community members that were visiting villages with us and participating in the assessment of existing designs. In your comment above it appears you may have understood that funding has gone into this project to make modifications twice (beginning with the cement toilet)....again, wanted to clarify if that's the case. Thanks again for your comments and feedback!

  • Rating: 5

    review by (only shown to members)

    I'm concerned about re-doing the project a third time. I understand that it was a pilot project and that the organization is accepting responsibility for what they consider design error. However, I'm surprised that concrete is considered "fragile" and that what works well for El Porvenir (transferring a concrete seat between chambers) doesn't work for this project. It seems simple enough--and more cost effective--to fix the concrete than rehab a project not just once, but twice. There are so many people who have no sanitation that it is hard for me to be in favor of putting additional funds into this project.

    I do, however, respect the commitment of the organization to, in its opinion, get this project right.

  • Rating: 5

    review by (only shown to members)

    This project cannot be considered in isolation, but in relation to the earlier work.

    So firstly, its great that Etta followed up and noticed the issues and wants to work with the community to resolve it.

    While i see the need to fix the toilets that are broken, i don't see a need to replace all of them. Yes, i understand there is difficulty in moving slabs, but lets just fix the broken ones. Getting the men involved once in a while to move might be a better option.

    Getting rid of the good, functioning concrete ones just creates a landfill problem.

    Am fully supportive of a smaller project to fix only the broken ones.

    Maybe, depending on the answer the the aeration pipe question, doing something there.

  • Rating: 7

    review by (only shown to members)

  • Rating: 7

    review by (only shown to members)

    I do commend the follow up and monitoring. Hopefully this pilot project will help with the sustainability of other projects moving forward.