Sanitation: a colossal challenge

The demographic explosion of mega-cities is rarely accompanied by the establishment of adapted sanitation infrastructures. This situation is all the more critical in precarious high-density neighbourhoods, where the risks of disease transmission are increased tenfold. In these neighbourhoods, some families have their own toilets at home, but without an effective emptying system. The others use a collective latrine that is rarely maintained and are obliged to do their needs in the open air. The average lifespan of these latrines varies between 6 and 24 months, which represents a cost to families and a high risk of using unhygienic toilets. The absence of drainage systems causes stagnation of wastewater and rainwater, which promotes the spread of many bacteria and increases the risk of environmental pollution.

Eau et Vie’s response to the issue

As access to water is closely linked to sanitation, Eau et Vie has developed a comprehensive approach to improve living conditions in the intervention areas. The local teams first draw up a diagnosis of existing sanitation services (current state of the services, actors, existing strategies, etc.), by area of intervention. In connection with the city services, the operator in charge of sanitation and the community, Eau et Vie then studies adapted and sustainable "solutions" for toilets, good management of dirty water (from latrines), for the evacuation of dirty water (from kitchens, showers, etc.) and rainwater.
The NGO INSTALLS A SUSTAINABLE WATER EVACUATION SYSTEM and SUPPLEMENTS THE EQUIPMENT OF LATRINES , by setting up activities such as the cementing of walkways, the rehabilitation of toilets and the construction of sanitary complexes. To ensure the sustainability of these facilities, these are managed and maintained by the local social enterprise which also provides water access and waste management services. In parallel, sensitization sessions are held with the community on hygiene latrines, hand washing and menstrual hygiene.

The sanitation service set up by Eau et Vie allows:

  • Reduction of risk of contamination and transmission of diseases;
  • Improvement of the hygiene conditions of inhabitants, especially women;
  • Improvement of the security conditions of the inhabitants, particularly women and girls subjected to night attacks;
  • Improvement of the privacy of users through access to privatized shower spaces;
  • Reduction of floods by draining rainwater;
  • Reduction of environmental pollution through good wastewater management.

Local Associations

Local associations, Water and Life Philippines, Water and Life Bangladesh and Eau et Vie Côte d’Ivoire, work in partnership with local authorities and professionals in the sector to carry out sanitation projects, in response to the specific needs of neighbourhoods.

Toilet Pilot Projects in Bangladesh

A latrine rehabilitation pilot project started in Bangladesh! After a long study of the initial situation (average toilet life of about 6 to 24 months, up to 40 to 50 users per toilet and toilets in the vast majority "out of order"), possible technical solutions (population density, limited space and cultural aspects) and exchanges with the community (expectations, payment capacity for the service ...) and local authorities, three types of sanitary blocks were selected for this project A public block, the sanitary block of a school and a family block which was rehabilitated in early 2017. The initial batch of 3 toilets, 2 of which were used, served some 80 people, a toilet for 40 people. These were uncleaned toilets with no access to water or electricity, and were not suitable for people with reduced mobility. The pit to which the toilets were connected was also never drained. Includes 9 toilets for about 100 people, a toilet for 11 people, 2 urinals, 2 sinks and 2 shower rooms. The Biofil solution (based on vermicompost) was chosen. The space, secured, is illuminated with a solar lamp, maintained by an agent (in addition to the users), decorated with jasmine (for the smells and the aspect), accessible to the people with reduced mobility and equipped with a network of evacuation of grey water. The weekly cost for families is 21 Taka (21 cents Euro). It is paid at the same time as the water bill and the waste service.

More than a technical solution, it is the innovation in the way of managing these toilets in the long term which is tested here. Meetings are organized with communities and local development actors to involve them and assist them in the design and implementation phases. In the long term, the 15,000 people living in the Bhashantek district will have access to hygienic and sustainable toilets, one toilet for a dozen people (compared to 20 to 50 currently). Access to water and electricity will be provided within each block to improve hygiene and safety conditions, and 1 in 3 toilets will be accessible to people with reduced mobility and children. Finally, the sanitary blocks rehabilitated will be adapted to women to allow them in particular a good menstrual hygiene.

"By 2030,

6.1) Ensure universal and equitable access to safe drinking water;

6.2) Ensure equitable access for all to adequate sanitation and hygiene services and end open defecation, paying particular attention to the needs of women, girls and persons with disabilities. in a vulnerable situation;

6.3) Improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating waste dumping and minimizing emissions of chemicals and hazardous materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and reducing significantly increasing the worldwide recycling and safe reuse of water;

6.6.b) Support and strengthen the participation of the local population in improving water and sanitation management."

   Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations)