Ecosan Sanitation Upgrades: Chinhoyi

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Focus Areas: Water & Sanitation

This is a pilot sanitation project in Chinhoyi. The project was initiated in July 2011 with the aim of it spreading across the country. Much emphasis was placed on constructing a good model with which to market the EcoSan idea (waterless sanitation). Land has been provided and one hundred and fifty (150) Ecosan toilets have been constructed in the area. The layout of the toilets in Chinhoyi involves two hundred and forty-four (244) high density residential plots, two commercial plots and one resource centre. Economic fluctuations may change these figures in the future.

Policy-significant strides have been made with various municipalities accepting and piloting the technology. The Mutare and Bulawayo municipalities have been engaged by the Federation in a number of discussions including discussions on Ecosan and conventional sewer system facilities provision. This is complemented by demonstrations, which offer a visual impact for local authorities and the community. In Chinhoyi and Bulawayo the wider community has come to appreciate the value of alternative sanitation technologies. Negotiations with the Bulawayo City Council were successful, yet a lot more needs to be done in convincing the relevant local authorities that alternative technology will not lower standards. Discussions with municipalities are ongoing and will continue so that both local and national government are exposed to eco-san technology. The Federation intends to build on the memorandums of understanding (MoU) already signed (in 2012), and the projects piloted in Chinhoyi. In Mutare, the Department of Housing and Community Services has accepted the application to use ecosan toilets but has faced objections from the Department of Health. Objections are premised on the belief that the proposed alternatives will lower standards and may pose health risks through underground water contamination. The Federation took the opportunity to call other stakeholders to join efforts in advocating for alternative technology. Installing minimal infrastructure on allocated sites seemed to be a more practical solution since it secures tenure for the potential beneficiaries whilst at the same time enables them to move onto their allocated sites. At the start of the project there was a significant ‘information gap’ regarding waterless sanitation. The progress made shows how the Federation’s ecosan model has changed governmental thinking. 

Location: Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe

Deliverables:

Having been allocated the site by Chinhoyi Municipality in late 2006, the Zimbabwe Homeless Peoples' Federation (ZIHOPFE) managed to prepare and get approval for the layout and cadastral survey of stands in 2008. The layout contains two hundred and forty-four (244) high density residential stands, two (2) commercial stands and one resource centre. 

The project involved the construction of two types of toilet structures to serve as models. One toilet block and two single toilet units sky loos. An additional sac stucture with a single unit pit was also constructed in Chinhoyi.  

Community capacity:

The community has participated in this project through savings. These savings contributions have been used largely as a loan facility through which Federation members can boost their small businesses. The community has also contributed to this project through the provision of their labour, particularly the trained Federation builders who are constructing the ecosan units. 

Scale:

The provision of alternative shared infrastructure has been made a priority and efforts are underway to have local authority adopt the technology. Exchanges are being held between local authorities and communities exposing them to areas where ecosan toilets are being used. The idea is to make them realize that the conventional system is not usually the best and only solution to sanitation challenges. A lot of focus have been placed on Epworth and Hatcliffe communities as they are the only urban communities serviced by ecosan toilets. The move, when successful, will take issues of incremental development to another level. In new areas, members are still concentrating on house construction and that has negatively impacted on the pace of ecosan construction.

Chinhoyi as a town and local authority has naturally become a learning ground for other local authorities especially on how greenfield sites can be developed using a community participatory approach and how slums can be upgraded. About seven (7) local authorities have visited Chinhoyi Brundish housing project and the learning exchanges have resulted in other local authorities adopting alternative technologies and improving on implementation. Within Chinhoyi, learning has not only developed in breadth but in depth too, as demonstrated by the Chinhoyi Situational Analysis Report that was jointly produced through an alliance of the Federation and Dialogue on Shelter and the Municipality of Chinhoyi. Learning together, primaily through co-production activities, has given rise to indirect benefits for the partnership. 

Impact:

After successful negotiations to have ecosan toilets used as basic infrastructure in Chinhoyi, the Federation widened its efforts to market the idea to otherstakeholders. The agreement with Chinhoyi was initially based on a pilot project to implement the technology and assess its feasibility. Having participated in major policy gatherings such as the 2009 Victoria Falls Housing Convention October, the next step targeted by the Federation was to try and actualize the resolutions which were passed at such gatherings. Incremental development issues were discussed at length with the community taking the leading role. The Federation has become a regular stakeholder in consultative meetings on all development issues. The Federation has decided to initiate a process that will eventually demonstrate the practical side of such incremental development using affordable, alternative infrastructure.

The ongoing construction of ecosan toilets is a starting point for the advocacy process. Local authority exchanges are expected to learn from the Chinhoyi Municipality. The momentum has been built for continued engagements with other local authorities. It is from such exposure that the Federation is expecting support from local authorities on the adoption of ecosan toilets as basic infrastructure. More importantly if such technology is adopted, development costs would have been significantly reduced and the speed of development doubled. 

Finance:

SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$20,000.00.

Resources Leveraged:

The local authority has allowed the Federation to extract sand and mould bricks within the site free of charge. 

State Subsidy:

See resources leveraged above. 

Market Generated Returns:

None to date.

Costs recovered from community:

To date US$43,500 has been repaid by the community into the revolving fund. 

Patience Mudimu patiencemudimu@gmail.com (+263) 4704 027 View Website


Project information updated: 02 November 2015

Project in depth

Detailed Information

This project sees the Zimbabwe Alliance of the Zimbabwe Homeless People's Federation (ZIHOPFE) and Dialogue on Shelter respond to the need to improve sanitation conditions in Chinhoyi. Project activity started in 2011. The Chinhoyi Municipality allocated the Federation a site in late 2006. The Federation prepared and got approval for the layout and cadastral survey of plots for ecosan toilets in 2008. Common circumstances and challenges around sanitation provision in Zimbabwe include water scarcity, groundwater pollution, dilapidated infrastructure, the lack of trunk connections, and extreme income poverty. City authorities are thus considering alternative technologies for bulk infrastructure (water and sewer facilities). Ecosan technology is yet to be widely used in Zimbabwe so project activity is utilised to persuade authorities of its benefits. 

Deliverables:

The construction of one hundred and fifty (150) toilets in various settlements across Zimbabwe.

Community capacity:

The intention was to improve the community's saving skills as well as to improve their construction skills so that they could construct the toilets themselves. 

Scale:

The project was piloted in Chinhoyi, with the intention of scaling it to other parts of the country such as Bulawayo and Mutare. 

Impact:

The intended impacts included, but were not limited to, the improvement of the living conditions of the urban poor through the provision of low cost, eco-friendly sanitation infrastructure. It was also the Federation's intention to influence the process of sanitation infrastructure provision by local authorities, to make it more inclusionary and also more open to alternative technologies. 

Finance:

SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$20,000.

Resources Leveraged:

Land and building materials, namely sand, were leveraged from the State.

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. 

Costs recovered from community:

The project was funded by UPFI and many of the initial capital costs will not be recovered. Among these costs was the construction of demonstration units at the resource centre in Chinhoyi. To ensure sustainability, exposure visits were carried out between communities both locally and nationally. The Chinhoyi community contributed and the UPFI loan has been repaid and revolved into other projects. Communities benefit from the provision of materials and are expected to repay funds to allow for new projects to be funded. Those working in construction make contributions directly towards the purchasing of building materials such as door and window frames. The savings contribution has been widely used as a loan facility where members apply to boost their small businesses, the Zimbabwean economy predominantly operating in the informal sector. This incremental development approach is open to non-Federation members who practice savings.

Bradlow, B. (2010). Zimbabwe Fed Builds on Housing Convention Gains. [Online]. Available: http://sdinet.org/2010/01/zimbabwe-fed-builds-on-housing-convention-gains/
 
Chitekwe-Biti, B. (2014). Brick by Brick: Transforming Relations between Local Government and the Urban Poor in Zimbabwe. [Online]. Available: http://www.delog.org/cms/upload/pdf-ug/IIED_Brick_by_brick_2014.pdf.
 
Machakaire, T. (2014). Slum Dwellers Take up Housing Challenge, The Chronicle. [Online]. Available: http://www.chronicle.co.zw/slum-dwellers-take-up-housing-challenge/
 
SDI. (2014). Citywide Sanitation Projects in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania Report on Successes of First Year. [Online]. Available: http://www.urbanafrica.net/urban-voices/citywide-sanitation-projects-malawi-zambia-zimbabwe-tanzania-report-successes-first-year/.
 
ZIHOPFE, Dialoggue on Shelter and Municipality of Chinhoyi. (2014). Building City-wide Strategies from the Bottom Up: A Situational Analysis of Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. [Online]. Available: http://www.shareresearch.org/research/building-city-wide-strategies-bottom-zimbabwe-situational-analysis
 

Funding Information

Raised:

$20,000.00

Implementing Partners

Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency)


Dialogue on Shelter & Zimbabwe Homeless People's Federation