Project: Improving Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Kaloleni Primary School

Thanks to our volunteers, the children at Kaloleni Primary School have access to a more hygienic toilet and their risk of disease has been greatly reduced.
Published on
December 15, 2022

Diarrhoea is one of the most commonly reported illnesses in Tanzania, with young children particularly at risk. Inadequate access to clean water, poor hygiene, and infestations of insects (particularly flies) are the risk factors for many diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid fever, malaria, helminths, schistomaniasis and other parasitic diseases.

The existing toilets at Kaloleni primary school were pit-latrine toilets, which is a typical construction method in developing countries. As there is no nearby sewerage network, the toilets consist of a deep hole in the ground, which is sometimes sealed with concrete but usually left unlined. A simple concrete floor with a hole is then the 'toilet'. There are usually a number of vent pipes for each toilet block to help with flies and odour management although these were damaged at Kaloleni and we quickly discovered that the holes were the key source of odour and flies!

At Kaloleni Primary, each student would have their own personal 'pitcher' usually around half a litre or so, which they would need to fill up at the drinking taps (around 150m away from the toilets) and carry it into the toilet to clean themselves afterwards. Considering the distance between the taps and the toilet, it was clear that some students weren't using their pitcher and would just use their hands and only maybe wash afterwards.  

After doing a bit of research online, we decided that we would fit each of the toilet cubicles with a tap connected to running water, fix the vent pipes, and install a SaTo toilet pan in each cubicle. The SaTo pan uses a simple trap door design that forms a water seal at the bottom of a pan set into a cement slab over the pit. The water seal reduces transmission of disease by insects, reduces odour and only requires a small volume of water for each flush compared with conventional toilets. More than one million units are already in use around the world, benefiting about five million people.  

We enlisted a local plumbing Fundi (tradesperson) to help us with bringing our design to life. Some of the challenges we encountered were getting the right materials for the toilets (after a bit of hunting around we finally found the SaTo pans although there was a bit of a lag-time on ordering the rest of them). Another challenge we found was getting adequate water pressure into the toilets. Originally, the school told us that everything was fed by an elevated tank about 5m above the ground. After a bit of investigating, however, we discovered that the tank was not in use at all and that all of their water came from a sneaky connection from the nearby brewery. In order to balance the pressure in the network, we installed a small adjustable gate valve at the downstream end where we had teed-off from the existing network as well as check valves before each toilet block to stop the water draining out of the line.

The project was eventually finished and now the children from the Kaloleni Primary School have access to a more hygienic toilet and their risk of disease has been reduced. Appropriate sanitation is so fundamental to living a healthy life, and there's no doubt the completion of this project will change and save the lives of many children, we cannot thank those enough who have donated to our cause.  

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