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Pilot Projects

Global MDG Challenge

2.5 billion with no sanitation
1.75 billion to be served by 2015

450 million new installations by 2015

15,000 installations per hour to 2015



  • Zimbabwe

    Aquamor has been conducting ecological sanitation projects and experiments for more than four years in conjunction with the SanRes Project/Programme and now with the EcoSanRes Programme.

    Aquamor has established itself as an organization primarily concerned with research and dissemination, rather than large-scale implementation of ecological sanitation.


    The main focus of the research and outreach work is to demonstrate that, at minimal cost to the householder, substantial benefits can be gained from choosing ecological methods of sanitation. With this focus on lower cost methods of ecosan, Aquamor's pilot project is concentrated on developing knowledge about the usefulness of the by-products - urine and eco-humus - and strengthening the link between sanitation and agriculture.


    Specializing in the Fossa Alterna and the Arborloo (specific types of ecological toilet construction that reuse the nutrients found in human excreta using shallow pits), Aquamor is currently researching the most effective ways to retrieve the valuable nutrients from excreta and apply them to crops. Part of this research includes experimenting with different faecal additives, such as ash and lime, to find the best combination to make humus.


    Aquamor has identified seven areas of research and four opportunities to create awareness and disseminate the knowledge gained from the research.

    Areas of Research

    -        Design and construction of experimental latrines - emphasizing low cost and recycling nutrients found in excreta back into the environment.

    -      Monitoring existing experimental latrines - Aquamor maintains several ecological toilets in rural, peri-urban and urban areas in Zimbabwe where various crops are tested comparing growth yields and combinations of urine and eco-humus as fertilizer and soil conditioner, as well as upkeep and maintenance.

    -      Humus formation in shallow pits and jars - this is a study of the conversion of excreta into humus, using faeces isolated in jars and faeces and urine combined in shallow pits. The study examines the formation of humus with variables such as partly lined pits, fully lined pits and the amount and type additives used (for example different soil mixtures), and includes soil analysis.

    -      Methods of using eco-humus in agriculture - an investigation into the efficiency of eco-humus as a soil conditioner, meaning composted excreta is added to naturally occurring sands and less fertile soils to improve the texture and increase nutrient levels. The study will also examine different agricultural structures, such as shallow and aboveground gardens, and the use of containers like buckets, cement jars and basins. The aim is to improve the barren soils common in peri-urban and communal settlements so they are fertile enough to grow food as a result of ecological sanitation.

    -      Urine and its usefulness - using experimental latrines, Aquamor will analyse methods of urine collection: urine diversion, urinals, desert lily and direct filling into containers. This portion of the research will also investigate the use of urine as a fertilizer without the addition of eco-humus.

    -     Soil analysis - to be performed on a number of soil types with and without the addition of humus formed in eco-latrines and through composting. The soil analysis aims to measure the effect of humus and urine application to naturally occurring soils and should clearly demonstrate the increased fertility of ecologically fertilized soils.

    -      Tree growth monitoring - several tree species have been planted in organic pits (the Arborloo) including trees suitable for fruit production, fuel, medicine and construction. The survival and growth of these trees in various locations will be monitored.


    Opportunities to Share Knowledge

    -     Training and demonstration - Aquamor's garden acts as a laboratory and exhibition area to display latrines, composting methods and specialized gardens for vegetable production using the nutrients retrieved from human excreta. Aquamor also offers training in the construction of latrines and methods of urine and faecal application in agriculture.

    -      Links with permaculture and organic farming - ecological sanitation shares methods of production with organic farming and permaculture (a design system for creating sustainable human environments using ecology as a basis for integrated systems of food production, housing, appropriate technology, and community development). The holistic approach advocated by each concept offers an opportunity to share knowledge and promote sustainable development.

    -      Book production - a fourth volume of Ecological Sanitation in Zimbabwe is being composed, concentrating on the use of human excreta in agriculture.

    -      Collaboration and dialogue - mainly through electronic communication, Aquamor will continue an ongoing exchange of information with local and international colleagues.


    For more information contact Peter Morgan or visit Aquamor's web site (hot link to http://aquamor.tripod.com).

  • Moçambique

    A field research programme concerning the application of ecological sanitation products to agriculture in rural and peri-urban areas is underway in the province of Niassa, Moçambique. Funded by the EcoSanRes Programme, the research is being implemented by ESTAMOS, DAS - Niassa and WaterAid.


    The Niassa Province project will run a rural and a peri-urban trial with 50 farmers of mixed gender in each. The District of Mandimba represents the rural area and the City of Lichinga (the provincial capital) will provide the peri-urban context. Niassa Province is politically and socially isolated with poor infrastructure and a weak, cash-based agricultural economy.


    As the concept of ecological sanitation spreads, awareness about the necessity of reliable research to substantiate the proposed benefits is emerging. Although those within the field believe firmly in the idea of closing the loop, it is important to establish quantitative and qualitative data to prove the validity of the theory.


    Through on-site research and personal interviews, this pilot project answers the question: "does the application of transformed faeces and urine to agricultural crops lead to increased yields?". The study also aims to test the cultural acceptability of using ecosan products in agriculture by surveying the farmers who will use the sanitized human excreta as well as those not directly involved in the project, such as potential eco-crop consumers.


    For more information please contact Ned Breslin


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Last modified: 14-jul-2011