Waste not: ecological sanitation breaks new ground in Africa

Waste not: ecological sanitation breaks new ground in Africa

In many African countries sanitation systems are in crisis, affecting the well-being of many. Over the years existing systems have come under increasing pressure through population growth. Conventional systems are not able to cope with rising demand. Ecological sanitation (EcoSan) could prove a viable alternative system. Research by the Water and Sanitation Program draws on the experience of various EcoSan projects in eastern and southern Africa. The study explores the progress and impact of selected projects, identifying different lessons that can be learnt. Several governments have begun to explore
the potential of EcoSan to improve the provision of sanitation
services. Well managed EcoSan can also provide much needed nutrients to support agricultural activity. Activities can range from simply planting trees and food plants on filled up toilet pits to composting human excreta and re-using the products for manure in agriculture. Research into existing projects found that: Heavily subsidised projects with a top-down approach were not sustainable in the long run and did not encourage ownership among users. Many families are unaware of the health and agricultural benefits. However, successful projects have led to increased demand in the community. Cultural norms can cause strong negative sentiments towards reusing excreta. Inappropriate technologies can result in poor handling of sanitation systems leading to hygiene problems. Sanitation systems in Africa face a big challenge of limited coverage and increasing demand. Under some circumstances ecological sanitation systems could prove to be a viable alternative approach. Pilot projects have realised only some of the potential benefits so far. Very few projects have reached the point where local communities copy EcoSan toilets using their own resources. Generally, projects need to be more carefully designed to fit the local context with regard to technology, culture and sense of ownership. To overcome some of these challenges the report recommends:
Projects need to be carefully and properly designed, including using subsidies sparingly. Because of cultural sentiments, the idea of EcoSan, particularly the reuse of excreta, requires sensitive promotion. Technologies need to be appropriate within the local context and should draw on locally available materials. User education needs explain the benefits of EcoSan as well as the correct use and risks of such systems.
‘A review of EcoSan Experience in Eastern and Southern Africa’, Water and Sanitation Program – Africa Field Note by Barry Jackson, January 2005
id21 Research Highlight: 2 December 2005
Further Information:

Water and Sanitation Program – Africa
World Bank
Hill Park Building
Upper Hill Road
PO Box 30577
Tel: +254 20 322 6306
Fax: +254 20 322 6386

Contact the contributor: wspaf(at)

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South African members of WAYS

Good morning WAYS members.
I am writing on behalf of the WAYS-AFRU interim executive committee. We are planning to launch WAYS-AFRU in September this year, and I require a few bodies to help with the launch. For logistics reasons I would appreciate it if those members in Gauteng would indicate if they are interested in being part of the planning committee.
We are also wanting to have our first newsletter published by the launch date in September, and would appreciate contributions for it. This is for all the members (Africa).

Dr Henry Roman
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WAYS at Euroscience Open Forum 2006

Euroscience Open Forum 2006

ESOF2006 is an interdisciplinary non-profit event seeking to foster debate on science and society. ESOF brings together researchers from different disciplines, policy-makers, representatives of industrial R&D, science journalists and the general public. It fosters debate about science and society, presents science and the humanities at the cutting edge and stimulates scientific awareness.

ESOF2006 will take place in Munich from July 15th to 19th, 2006.

WAYS is organizing two workshops.

Peer review: the process unveiled!

North/South, West/East divide - how to get young researchers together

Young scientists from Spain
The CSIC sponsors 10 travel grants (600€) for young scientists from Spain who may wish to attend ESOF2006. for further information:

La FECYT, en el marco de su programa de trabajo Ciencia y Sociedad, convoca cinco becas para fomentar la participación y asistencia de jóvenes vinculados a universidades, instituciones o centros de investigación españoles en el ESOF2006 (Euroscience Open Forum).
Deadline, May 30th!

Young scientists from Sweden
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YPARD moving forward

Dear Friends,

Good day. Hope all are doing well,

One of the WAYS promoted projects of YPARD is moving ahead,

Please follow the newsletter attached,


Bala R

About a PhD Position (topic: global water-food relationship)

> Ph.D Research Position in Crop Growth
> and Water Resources Management Modelling
The Department of Systems Analyses, Integrated Assessment and Modelling, at the Swiss Federal Institute for Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) would like to appoint a Ph.D candidate to undertake the research on model development and application for integrated crop and water resources management. The research is an integral part of the existing efforts in the department in examining water-food-trade relations and their environmental implications at different geographical levels around the world.
Food production is the largest water user in most of the countries, particularly those in the arid and semi-arid areas. The increasing scarcity in freshwater resources on the one hand and the continuous increase in the demand for additional and better food on the other have posed a great challenge to the world community. Food trade has been playing an important role in balancing local water budget and meeting the food demand in many regions and countries. Understanding the water-food-trade relations is important for formulating appropriate policies to better manage the limited water resources and improve food security. The major task of Ph.D candidate will be to further develop an existing GIS-based crop model and apply it for examining food-water-trade relations and supporting policy marking.

active WAYS

Dear all WAYSers,

Good day. Hope all are doing well,

It was a great delight to have the new WAYS website,

Now its all our duty to feedback the needs and do not needs to Steve to work the optimal,

See you all soon,

Bala R

CSIR-TWAS Fellowship for Postgraduate Studies

Upcoming deadline: 1 June 2006

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of India, and The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World [formerly Third World Academy of Sciences] (TWAS) have instituted a number of fellowships for foreign scholars from developing countries who wish to pursue research leading towards Ph.D in newly emerging areas in science and technology for which facilities are available in the Laboratories/Institutes of the CSIR. Deadline for applications is 1 June.

For information see:

First TWAS Regional Conference of Young Scientists

27 April 2006. To coincide with the TWAS 10th General Conference, which will be held in Angra dos Reis, Brazil, on 2-6 September 2006, TWAS is also organizing a conference for talented young researchers working in the life sciences on the theme of "Promoting Life Sciences for Sustainable Development" that will be held from 2-5 September. The general aim of the conference is to bring together a group of the most talented young researchers pursuing fundamental (basic) research in biological sciences to share experiences and to present their research results to leading senior scientists in the field, including TWAS Fellows and to discuss how their research can be used to promote sustainable development.