In April 2012, Just a Drop - in collaboration with African Revival (AR) - implemented a sanitation project for four schools in Kalomo District, Southern Zambia. Each of the four schools - Bowwood Coommunity School, Inkumbi Basic School, Kinnertone Community School and Lubombo Communuity School - received between two and five new double Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrine blocks.
These rural schools faced a pressing sanitation problem where pupils and staff shared unpleasant and sometimes dangerous facilities. In the most severe case at Inkumbi, 600 pupils were sharing just four latrines. In cases like Bowwood with an ever increasing ratio of 47 pupils to one latrine, sanitation standards fail to meet Government regulations. Government targets for sanitation provision in schools are 25 girls per latrine and 40 boys per latrine.
In the lead up to the project, community meetings were held at both schools to ensure that responsibilities were delegated effectively. The Parent Teacher Committees (PTAs) took the lead in informing people how they could help with the project both as a group and as individuals. A number of particularly dedicated families donated between 2,000 – 5,000 bricks, whilst members who had access to less resources got stuck in with collecting river sand or water.
Despite the ground being extremely hard (from over 5 months without rain), the communities dug the 3mx2mx3m latrine pits by hand, often in temperatures reaching over 35C. The school’s enthusiasm for the project did not lessen in the mid-summer heat and bricks, stone, sand and water were delivered to the sites, by whatever means possible - vehicle, ox-cart or on foot..
Once the pits had been dug and the materials were ready, building teams were sent to each school and provided with weekly quality control assistance from the Construction Supervisors. Onsite training ensures that building teams continue to perfect their craft and benefit from the AR team’s practical experience.
It took between two - three weeks to construct 1 double VIP latrine block, including all the brick work, roofing, plastering and painting. This time scale was very dependent on the level of support received from the communities, who had to ensure the builders had a constant flow of water to work with.
The finished latrines have been received with great pride by the two communities with neighbouring school teachers often dropping by to compliment the work.
If you ever wondered how a pit latrine was built, click here to see a photo album from the project on the whole process from start to finish!
Date of project: April 2012