sanitation & water
a growing problem
A lack of adequate sanitation often means that human urine and faeces are a common cause of problems in urban slums, causing environmental problems, contamination of freshwater resources and health issues (e.g. linked to malaria; diarrhoea). In practice, people living in these areas often pay high fees for poor quality public sanitary services, if they exist. A more sustainable solution is needed to cope with the rapid growth of many of these urban slums and associated rise in problems.
Water, sanitation and hygiene are key to child survival, development and growth. Five years to the 2015 deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the water and sanitation situation in West and Central Africa remains a major concern. Despite the efforts made by some countries, approximately 155 million people in West and Central Africa – that is 39% of the population – are without access to safe drinking water and, current trends indicate that only seven countries will reach the MDG water target. The situation of sanitation is even more worrying as 291 million people do not have access to improved sanitation, of which 101 million have access to no sanitation facilities at all, and no country is on track to achieve the MDG target for sanitation. The implications of this situation for children are shocking: about half a million children die each year from water-borne diseases such as diarrhea – the second leading cause of child mortality in a region where two children out of ten die before their fifth birthday (unicef, 2010).
communal service block
The Safi Sana Communal Service Block (CSB) represents a public service and management concept that aims to set a new standard for longer-term, high quality, water and sanitary services in slum districts. We combine technical, functional design and local management with global funding and organizational expertise. At each site, running the CSB under a franchise formula means further CSBs can be rolled out to many areas that lack proper access to sanitation and water services without the bottleneck of project staff in Europe. ‘Tripartite partnerships’ put in place by the parent organization help ease the transaction costs which restrict individual entrepreneurs from opening a business on their own. The CSB has several unique features:
- toilets, water kiosk, hygiene products and wash services all on one site, located in the slum.
- designed to optimize hygiene, space and comfort
- people pay for service to guarantee long term quality and business
- frequent waste collection to avoid health issues
- training and support: Safi Sana provides the training of the operator and staff.
- blanket operating standards to ensure safety and quality
- frequent quality control and scheduled maintenance
sanitation and waste management
The Safi Sana ‘Communal Service Block’ is integrated with the Safi Sana ‘waste re-use concept’. This allows for the collection and hygienic processing of the waste into usable end products for the local market. Although the CSB’s are marketed to be financially stable on their own, waste re-use is the main driver for improved, sustainable solutions for sanitation in densely populated slum areas.
proof of principle
In 2010 we started our first pilot project in Accra, Ghana, in the Teshie and Ashaiman districts. The pilot project consists of the construction and testing of two CSB’s and a waste re-use program. A ‘proof of principle’ will be used to roll out further CSB under a franchising model, whereby local partners and entrepreneurs will run the business under the guidance and managerial support of Safi Sana.