Construction and Right Use of Ecological Sanitation in Burundi, Ecuador, Haiti and Rwanda

Project location: WORLDWIDE, Burundi, Ecuador, Haiti And Rwanda
Project start date: September 2015 - Project end date: August 2016
Project number: 2015-031
Beneficiary: Protos vzw

The project aims to build Ecological Sanitation and associated formation programs for the good use of the infrastructure and the right use of its derivate products as fertilizer in agriculture production in rural areas of 4 countries.

Protos plans to build in total 50 EcoSans: 45 family EcoSans and 5 public EcoSans in schools or publicplaces.


Motivation and link to international and local needs.

Access to sanitation is one of the Millennium Development Goals. Target 7d is stipulating: " Halve by 2015,the proportion of het population without sustainable access to basic sanitation" ( versus 1990 baseline). Although since 1990, almost 2,1 billion people gained access to improved basic sanitation, today still 2,4 billion people lack this access, and the projections are that the MDG target, by the end of 2015, will be missed worldwide by 0,7 billion people. (source: Joint Monitoring Program WHO‐UNICEF 2015 latest update).

If one compares within countries, the situation is worse in rural areas compared to urban areas.

The specific situation in the 4 countries where Protos is working on basic sanitation, is the following:

Use of improved sanitation facilities in rural areas (percentage of population source JMP update 2013)



% 1990

% 2011

Target end 2015

















Only 1 of those 4 countries is meeting the target: Ecuador.

Nevertheless, also there, still 14% of the population in rural areas lack improved sanitation facilities and  Protos is working in Ecuador in 2 underprivileged regions.

Project explanation

The principle of Ecological Sanitation (EcoSan) is that, from the beginning, the liquid fraction is separated from the solid fraction by 2 separate holes through one is defecating. The urine is stored in a jerry can and auto‐disinfects in a period of about 6 months. After each defecation, a small amount of ash is sprinkled on the solid fraction. The solid fraction is stored under the superstructure floor covered by a black painted hatch, directed to the sun. This helps to dry the excreta/ash mixture also in about 6 months. After this period, the liquid fraction, as well as the solid fraction, can be used as fertilizer in agriculture.

Due to this principle, an EcoSan has to be built above the ground, and has always two compartments: one compartment is in use, the other one in "drying and des‐infecting mode".

Although an EcoSan costs considerably more than a classic pit latrine, it has a number of serious advantages:

- You do not need water to flush the toilet.

- The facility does not infect the underground water layers as does a pit latrine.

- If ventilated as it should be, it does not give disturbing odors.

- It is far more safe to use than a classic latrine, which is highly appreciated by women and children.

- The urine fraction, after diluting 1 part to 3 parts of water, is used as a fertilizer.

- The solid fraction is used as fertilizer and soil improvement component.

- Both fractions replace the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers.

Therefore, EcoSan is highly recommended in areas with high groundwater tables, in rocky and flood‐prone areas, and in rural areas where a lot of the families are small farmers, where the derivates contribute to a higher yield in crops.

Project approach

Really essential in an EcoSan program, is that one not only invests in hardware (building the EcoSan toilets), but also highly invests in promotion and good use of the facilities, and that one is setting up formation for local craftsmen, to ensure that the infrastructure is built following the standards.

The 3 different promotion and formation steps are subcontracted to local NGO's specialized in social engineering, that use a lot of cartoons (sensitization drawings), since a lot of the beneficiaries are analphabetic. These NGO's are paid as service providers.

1. Promote hygiene= step1

Awareness and hygiene promotion: inform/train the beneficiaries about the importance of good sanitation, good hygienic behavior and the advantages of EcoSan versus classic pit latrine. Motivate to improve their hygiene practices and to build a latrine.

Method used: Community based approaches adapted to the local context (Participatory Hygiene And Sanitation Transformation (PHAST), Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)).

2. Enable the environment= step 2

Search for ways to finance construction of EcoSan at a larger scale

Capacity building of local governments and de‐concentrated services in coordinating and regulating sanitation in the region.

Formation of local craftsmen about the standard building procedures and good maintenance practices of EcoSan.

Method used: provide technical assistance, and show examples in other regions.

3. Provide access to hardware: = the construction phase

Promote demand (through sanitation marketing).

Select this part of the population who will receive an EcoSan: this selection is done on criteria which are defined by our local project executing partners and the local authorities, who know the living status of their people. The most vulnerable people are selected.

Stimulate small scale service providers (local craftsmen) to construct the EcoSans and provide spare‐parts.

4. Formation on the right use of the derivates = step 3

Method used: PHAST.

Protos is subcontracting this to local community workers who have a formation in agriculture techniques, called Agriculture Instructors.

The Nando Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant for this project. The direct outcomes for the beneficiaries are:

- Better living condition by access to a good toilet.

- Better health situation by the better toilet and by the formation on better hygienic behavior.

- Safe use of toilet.

- Improved soil fertility.

- Improved yield of crops (vegetables, maize, beans, bananas, ect...)

The multiplier effects are the following.

1. On a local level (same community/municipality): since the program targets the poorest people and since local craftsmen are formed, the EcoSan concept is copied by a part of the population who has more financial means and they contract the craftsmen directly.

2. In the region: by the dissemination of the approach and the results (see here under), also EcoSans are built in neighboring communities, municipalities and districts.

think global, act local
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