Sanitation is still a big challenge in Tanzania. According to DHS 2010 it is only 22% of households with improved toilet facilities in urban areas. Majority of households in urban areas are using unimproved toilet facility with 50% using pit latrines. Piped sewerage coverage is as low as 17% (Sanitation policy draft, 2009) with the rest of population relying on on-site sanitation, mostly pit latrines which use unhygienic means of emptying such as opening up the pits to flow with water during rain season.
Despite the efforts taken by the Government to alleviate hygiene and sanitation consequences, for example, The ‘Mtu ni Afya Campaign’ in the early 1970s’ and other programmes, still about 13% of all households lack of any form of latrine facilities. Coverage of basic sanitation in urban areas is about 97.6% compared to 83.3% of rural households. Whilst the coverage is high against many other African countries, the quality of the latrines is often poor with only 47% of the existing latrines being considered as improved latrines of an acceptable sanitary condition, and in urban areas piped sewerage is as low as 17%. Water, sanitation and hygiene related diseases are still common in Tanzania and contribute above 60% of the diseases treated in our health facilities.
Our work focuses in the informal settlements. Despite the fact that these areas are occupied by majority of the urban residents (more than 75%), many actors including the government have not put enough emphasis towards addressing sanitation challenges. CCI and the federation have conducted enumeration, mapping and profiling of these areas, and in many cases sanitation challenges and its effects have been acute. Working with the community by identifying challenges and come up with solutions to their own challenges has helped CCI to gain massive experience. Several technical approaches on sanitation have been identified by CCI together with community basing on the local environment and considering the issue of affordability.
Household and shared toilets
In many urban informal settlements of Tanzania a single house is occupied by a number of households, normally three to eleven. That being the case toilets constructed by our trained technicians is shared toilets and single household. CCI and the federation have been helping communities to access affordable toilets loans. Technologies used are normally poor flush with the soak pit lined with trapezoidal blocks and ecological sanitation toilet (dry toilets) which are constructed by different local available materials such as the interlocking bricks which uses minimum cement, use of plastic bottles, use of trapezoidal blocks and others. Making the toilets affordable to beneficiaries has been a key consideration in addressing sanitation where different materials, techniques and community contribution have been used to lower the cost.
The lack of public toilets in major towns across Tanzania puts the health of millions of people at risk as desperate citizens are forced to relieve themselves in indecent, unhygienic facilities. Sometimes local residents deliberately avoid the few accessible public toilets, many of which are in awful situation. CCI and the federation are working with different Municipalities to design, build and operate toilets in public areas such as in markets and bus stands. We build, rehabilitate and set up proper shared management committee normally comprised of all stakeholders involved in the construction of facility. This is a new and unique management model which helps to have effective management system for ensuring the toilets are kept clean, well managed, ensures cost recovery and sustainability.
Simplified sewerage system
As results of enumeration and mapping done by CCI and community (Federation), a simplified sewerage system was proposed by the community at Vingunguti as one of the sanitation solutions. The Simplified sewerage network is a great opportunity to help the low income communities in informal settlements especially those living close to waste stabilization ponds to have access to improved sanitation by connecting their toilets to the system. The simplified sewerage system can be integrated with other treatment and containment facilities such as decentralized wastewater treatment systems (Dewats), wetland systems or shared septic tanks and transfer stations.
The challenge of pit emptying is acute especially in the informal settlements where streets are packed up and accessibility is very limited. The popular sanitation facilities in these areas are pit latrines. CCI supports the community through setting up pit emptying groups (entrepreneurs). These groups are trained and supported to purchase a pit emptying device called a Gulper. The gulper is a combination of a hand pump (lift pump) with a tri-cycle carrying a container of normally 350-700 litres.
The gulper has an added advantage to perform well in the informal settlements because it can penetrate in the narrow paths and it offers flexibility in payment for the service as a beneficiary can empty a certain volume of the sludge depending on the affordability levels. Usually the payment is between 25,000 to 45,000Tshs (USD$ 12- 21) per trip depending on the distance.
Dewats is an onsite or cluster wastewater system that is used to treat and dispose of relatively small volumes of wastewater, generally originating from individual or groups of dwellings and businesses that are located relatively close together”. Decentralized treatment involves using a combination of treatment technology options, both traditional and innovative. It consists of wastewater collection, wastewater treatment, reuse and disposal of municipal wastewater.
CCI and federation have constructed DEWATS in both of its housing projects; Dodoma and Dar es salaam- Chamazi. This came as a solution for the challenge of absence of sewerage system particularly on housing projects. All constructed (117) houses have been connected to the DEWATS and more houses to be connected as the construction proceeds. More exploration is being done to see the possibility of construction of DEWAT in existing informal settlements.
Moving towards reuse of resources
CCI supports community to collects solid waste, recycle and reuse of resources out of collect garbage. In recent, the solid waste collection has been linked to recycling in order to maximize the potential of garbage for producing fertilizers (compost) and other materials for getting more income to groups. This also will reduce the cost of transporting garbage to dumping sites which are usually located far/outside the city. The bigger picture is to help these communities to see a business opportunity in waste management other than little money accessed from collection fees. Two centres have been established in Dodoma and Dar es Salaam. Both centers have started recycling by making composting from garbage.
Solid waste management and Hygiene promotion
CCI supports community in promoting Hygiene at community and households level. Solid waste and hygiene promotion teams are trained by CCI to promote hygiene and collecting solid waste within their settlements in partnership with local authorities. Some of these groups have gained official recognition and are now able to tender for contracts from Local authorities.
School water and sanitation (SWASH)
- Formation of pupil’s clubs at the school;
- Training and capacity building for the pupils and teachers on hygiene behaviors;
- Support the pupils to conduct participatory hygiene and sanitation surveys at their own schools;
- Support the pupils to priories the needs and establish hygiene and sanitation behavior change activities at school and at their homes. Other software support activities include
- Training and support on Menstrual Hygiene for girls;
- Conduction of Health campaigns; and schools exchanges.
While water and sanitation and hygiene in schools are globally recognized as essential children rights to health, many schools in Tanzania faces an acute challenge to achieve desired levels of satisfactory services. Since 2014, CCI has developed a structured SWASH program in 5 schools in Dar-es-Salaam as a pilot; where both software and hardware interventions have been implemented. The software support on SWASH includes:
The hardware support has supported rehabilitation and improvement of toilets; water services and hand washing facilities at the schools.