The Start of Brick by Brick’s Eco-San Pilot Project

After a year of background research and preparation, the first phase of Brick by Brick’s Ecological Sanitation (Eco-San) Pilot Project is set to begin next week.  In contrast to most other sanitation systems, Eco-San systems view human waste as a potential resource and focus on making these products safe for use as fertilizer.  When used correctly, Eco-San facilities can be cost-effective, environmentally sound, long-term solutions to the sanitation problems facing many of Uganda’s schools.  However, these systems are also a bit more complicated to operate than traditional pit latrines, and the idea of using human waste as fertilizer often creates some uneasiness and can be difficult to accept.  When these facilities are installed without enough education and training, things can get a little messy… Brick by Brick’s Pilot Project will introduce these systems at two of its partner schools, Kalisizo UMEA and St. Andrews Matale Hill.  In the project’s first phase, we will be working with Robert and Neema, two researchers from Rakai Health Sciences Program, to conduct focus group discussions, for students and for parents, in both of these schools.  We will be talking about the Eco-San concept and what people think of the idea.  Important issues and themes that emerge from these discussions will help us to develop effective, comprehensive, and context-specific educational sessions about Eco-San facilities.  The educational sessions will begin in August and September, as Brick by Brick’s masons are building the facilities.  After construction, we will continue training the school communities, and we’ll keep a close eye on how the facilities are being used.  After several months of operation, we will have another round of discussions, so that we can look for any changes in community members’ opinions and knowledge regarding these systems.  If the pilot project proves successful, the installation of Eco-San systems could become a standard part of Brick by Brick’s school program.

Over the next year, we will also be conducting a number of other research activities related to Eco-San systems.  Look for more updates in the coming months…

An Eco-San facility installed in Uganda (photo courtesy of Uganda Water and Sanitation Network)