Household EcoSan Toilet Construction in Lilongwe: Salima

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Focus Areas: Water & Sanitation | Housing

This project uses funds to make improvements to forty (40) houses in Salima and Mulanje townships in Lilongwe. The improvements are in the form of installing individual ecosan toilets in houses. The Blantyre Water Board and other stakeholders have worked directly with the Malawi Alliance on the provision of household water connections through the granting of water and sanitation loans.

Location: Salima, Lilongwe, Malawi

Deliverables:

The intention was to construct forty toilets; one per household. This figure has been surpassed with two hundred and twelve (212) Ecosan toilets having been constructed thus far. 

Community capacity:

Ten (10) community masons were trained in the construction and maintenance of Ecosan toilets. Beneficiaries were also trained on the use and management of Ecosan toilets. Furthermore, a total of seventeen (17)  community-to-community exchange visits have been conducted.

The savings groups play a critical role as the project's technical team. They are responsible for mobilisation; vetting; facilitating the construction and training of the beneficiaries as well as being responsible for the collection of the loans. 

Scale:

The toilets are helping three thousand eight hundred and sixteen (3,816) individuals in these areas. 

The intra-district exchange visits have allowed the project to spread to other areas. Simultaneously, the inter-district exchanges have helped other communities learn on how the Salima Federation is implementing its project. It has also helped the Salima Federation to showcase its relationship with the District Council.

Impact:

Through their work in the sanitation sector, the Alliance has built relationships with both local and national governments, with the project extending on this. The Alliance has been included in key national discussions around water and sanitation. This means that it is increasingly being seen as a key player in the sanitation sector in the country. Project activity has been replicated in other areas as ninenty-one (91) households have adopted the technology. The Alliance plans to access more funds in order to support this replication. Challenges to the project include high inflation and high construction material costs which decreases the capacity of the revolving fund.

Finance:

SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$100,000.00

Resources Leveraged:

The Salima Federation successfully negotiated for land from the District Council and the Traditional Leaders for the construction of low cost houses. This necessitated the need for a capital project to supplement the efforts of the Federation and the Council. 

The project has been able to leverage funding from Government through the National Slum Upgrading Fund (NSUF).

State Subsidy:

The State subsidy was in the form of land and funding through the NSUF. 

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. 

Costs recovered from community:

None to date. 

Patrick Chikoti patrickchikoti@gmail.com (+265) 1 756 781 View Website
Project social media channels:


Project information updated: 14 December 2015

Project in depth

Detailed Information

The Malawian Alliance of The Federation of Rural and Urban Poor and the Centre for Community Organisation and Development (CCODE) initiated this project in 2011. This was done as part of the slum upgrading programme in Malawi’s main cities, to address sanitation issues identified by communities through mapping and planning exercises. There was growing demand for ecosan toilets as a result of scaling up of sanitation-based activity in Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mulanje, and Machinga.


The project is being implemented in the lakeshore township of Salima. The area expriences frequent flooding due to the big rivers that pass through it. The recent floods demolished ninety percent (90%) of the toilets in the area. However, only one (1) Ecosan toilet was affected. This shows that though the Ecosan toilet is expensive, it has the ability to withstand adverse weather.

Deliverables:

The project’s aim is to improve the living condition of people of these areas by improving sanitation conditions through the construction of safe and sustainable sanitation facilities. The aim was to construct forty (40) toilets on four project sites. However, this number has been exceeded by far. The building plans for the two-room toilet structures were approved by all the district and city councils where the projects are being implemented.

The toilets that being are being promoted are the Ecological Sanitation (Ecosan) toilets. The toilets are designed to have a bathroom attachment, hand washing facility and a soak-a-way pit. The soak-a-way pit collects waste water from the bathroom and urine from the toilet.

Community capacity:

The training of the ten masons has improved project delivery rate. All toilet beneficiaries have been trained in toilet management and the importance of loan re-payment. In addition to the training provided for the masons and beneficiaries, community mobilisation efforts were conducted on the project sites.

The Salima Federation has been working with their respective Councils and stakeholders in the district. During this period, the Federations have participated in six (6) District Executive Committee (DEC) meetings. 

In the projects areas, new savings groups are being founded. The communities are involved at all stages of development: from conceptualising, designing, implementing to monitoring and evaluation. The Mchenga Fund has trained Community Loan Officers in the district to ensure the continuity of the fund. Since the introduction of the system the repayment rate has increased. In addition to this, the beneficiaries are also being capacitated to venture into various businesses to increase their ability to pay back the loans. 

The Federation has increased the interest rate from 24% to 48% and reduced the loan repayment period from 24 to 12 months. All these measures are meant to hedge against the high inflation rate that is slowly eroding the fund system. The loan repayments are being directed back into the fund, which will ensure that more households  benefit from the project in the long run.

Scale:

The demand for better housing continues to rise with the increase of the number of people migrating to urban centers. In its efforts to provide safe and affordable housing for the urban poor, the Federation continues to experience the problem of capital. Therefore the Federation intends to partner with other organisations working in the land and housing sector. During the reporting period the Federation is working with the District Council on this front. 

Additionally, the Federation has continued to capacitate Salima communities on habitat issues focusing onproper settlement planning, planning and costing of structures and house construction. Apart from these trainings the Federation is also supporting communities to access loans for the construction and maintenance of unprotected shall wells and Ecosan toilets. This is helping the households that are not direct beneficiaries of the reported project.

Impact:

There is still high demand for the toilets however, the increase in cost for the construction materials is impeding poor people’s access to sustainable facilities. The Ecosan toilet is being constructed at US$422.  

The Salima Federation has continued working with the district council and other development stakeholders and has started to review with these partners the habitat policies. 

Finance:

SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$100,000.00 of which US$20,000 was utilised for project-related technical assistance. 

Resources Leveraged:

The Salima Federation has been offered another piece of land in the district for the construction of houses. The land has been planned and it will accommodate eighty-four (84) families. The Federation has continued to negotiate for more land from both the Local Authority and the Traditional Leaders. The Federation has established a partnership with the Salima Technical College. The institution, which is under the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MLVT), is helping the Federation by supporting communities with planning and construction.

State Subsidy:

The State subsidy was in the form of land and a contribution from the NSUF.

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. 

Costs recovered from community:

A 10% deposit on the loans is paid at the outset to ensure that payback begins immediately. Sanitation loans are open to all community members, not just savings group and/or Federation members. Challenges for sustainability includes the currency’s high inflation, which diminishes the capacity of the revolving fund, which in turn negatively affects sustainability of the project. 

When loans are repaid they are put into a fund to finance further Alliance activity. Household savings play a critical part in the implementation of the project. To belong to savings groups is a requirement for all beneficiaries. The daily savings are also used as part of the contribution towards the construction of the houses. The beneficiaries are being trained in different skills with the goal of increasing their ability to pay back the loans. High loan repayment will ensure the continuity of people accessing good quality housing. 

The Federation is working on the establishment of community-wide-networks. The networks are expected to represent the needs of community members at various forums. The network committees have started profiling their settlements. To date three (3) settlements in the township have been profiled.

Manda, M.A.Z. (2009). Water and Sanitation in Urban Malawi: Can the Millennium Development Goals be Met? A Study of Informal Settlements in Three Cities. [Online]. Available: http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/10569IIED.pdf
 
Palamuleni, L.G. (2002). Effect of Sanitation Facilities, Domestic Solid Waste Disposal and Hygiene Practices on Water Quality in Malawi's Urban Poor Areas: A Case Study of South Lunzu Township in the City of Blantyre, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 27: 845 - 850. [Online]. Available: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/223852180_Effect_of_sanitation_facilities_domestic_solid_waste_disposal_and_hygiene_practices_on_water_quality_in_Malawi%27s_urban_poor_areas_A_case_study_of_South_Lunzu_Township_in_the_city_of_Blantyre.
 
Patson, N. & Matiya, G. (2008). Reaching Out to the Excluded: Exclusion Study on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Delivery in Malawi. [Online]. Available: https://www.wateraid.org/~/media/Publications/equity-inclusion-excluded-study-water-sanitation-hygiene-delivery-malawi.pdf.

Funding Information

Raised:

$100,000.00

Funding type:

Grant funding

Implementing Partners

Centre for Community Organisation & Development (CCODE)


The Federation of Rural and Urban poor


The Rockefeller Foundation