August 17

The Neighborhood Toilet Champion

“The waste water was always coming out of my compound and into the street!” exclaims Monsieur Theodore Danho, a landlord in the crowded capital city of Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.  Danho was frustrated.

Like most compounds in Abidjan, Danho’s tenants live in separate family units but share certain facilities, like septic tanks. In Danho’s compound, the septic tank is shared between 5 households, or 35 individuals, and was always overflowing. The original septic tank that Danho constructed didn’t meet the appropriate standards for the large number of individual it serviced- it was made out of brick, only had one compartment and lacked a soak pit. After a few years of operation and overuse, the pit began to overflow frequently and Danho was forced to have it emptied twice a month. At a cost of CFA 20,000 (USD $34) per emptying trip, and with Danho’s tenants refusing to pay the high monthly emptying dues, the tank frequently went unemptied.

Danho knew this was a problem, but he didn’t know what to do. So when the head of the neighborhood asked for a volunteer to attend a presentation on new sanitation technologies at the local health center, Danho jumped at the chance. He agreed to represent his community at the meeting and report back on what he learned.

Source: PSI (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
global health, healthcare, public health, sanitation, toilets, waste