Published on: 04/11/2022
Amref in collaboration with local authorities have established small and micro- enterprises (SMEs) for sanitation and have provided training and start up tools and materials while local authorities have provided working space for manufacturing concrete slabs for the construction of improved latrines. Volunteer community members (health development army) work hand in hand with the micro-enterprises and engage in demand creation.
The rising costs of steel bars and cement, the two primary ingredients needed to manufacture concrete slabs, cause businesses to gradually run into problems. The cost of concrete slabs has increased from 800 birr to 1,500 birr due to inflation. This has greatly reduced demand However, they have not waited around for the pricing to go back to normal; instead, they have worked with Amref to find a solution. They have started fabricating a new design costing around 500 birr.
Samuel Girma, Amref Shashamane field office project manager said “…the new innovative concrete slab design by Amref engineers doesn’t use steel bars which was the main component in the previous version. The design of a slab without steel bars has reduced the costs significantly which makes it affordable for the majority of rural households.” The new design has a dome shape, and its strength is technically proven (picture 1). Households can pay for the slabs out of pocket or through a short-term loan arrangement with the micro-enterprises (enterprises, with the knowledge of the kebele administration, lend slabs to households and collect money during harvest seasons). For low-income households the micro-enterprises have special cost sharing arrangements where the poor households can contribute in kind or in labour and other costs can be covered by the micro-enterprises, based on an agreement between Amref and the enterprise.
Low-cost dome shaped concrete slab
In urban centres, BBBC has trained artisans who manufacture and install high quality but low-cost latrines that can fit the smallest available space, even inside a house. Households can buy the latrines out of pocket or through a special loan arrangement set up with micro-finance institutions.
To ensure that no one is left behind Sinqe, a micro-finance institution/bank, has a loan service based on group collateral for households that do not have a property as collateral but have interest to buy and the capacity to pay back the loan. “Edao Wako, Sinqe bank branch manager in Shashamane said “…the target beneficiaries of Sinqe bank are poor households/individuals that do not have access to finance. Those who do not have a property as collateral can form a group of three or more, get a support letter from the local administration, open a bank account and start saving in Sinqe bank and then they can get a loan”.
There is also a cost sharing arrangement for households/institutions that can partially cover the cost in cash or in kind or in labour. For the elderly and households with special needs, BBBC and SMEs supply and install latrines free of charge. Segni, BBBC engineer said, “…a school and a prison centre in Shashamane town benefited from the cost sharing arrangement where the institutions paid 80% and BBBC contributed 20%”.
People became interested in constructing improved latrines for their homes. Abebe Anjelo who purchased a latrine out of pocket said, ”…I didn’t believe that a latrine of such quality can be constructed in a small space for the cost of 15,000 birr. I and my wife were using a communal latrine far away from our house that is not clean”. BBBC has also constructed a latrine with a shower for Tsega Tefera within his shop. He purchased the latrine out of pocket for a cost of 10,000 birr. The latrine is built using the existing roofing and wall. He said, “I registered for the latrine after I saw a latrine at my neighbour’s constructed by trained artisans. I used to go to a nearby hotel to a latrine, and when the hotel latrine was closed, I usually went to the communal latrine at the bus station within five minutes walking distance. What would happen if I or a member of my family would become ill in the middle of the night was always a source of worry for me. Now I have my own lockable latrine with a shower, and I am relieved.” His wife ,Konjit Lorago, also said, “We have two kids and I used to worry about them. Thanks to God and BBBC, we now have our own neat latrine.”
Membre Mamo, Meslech Wolde and Maname Sibamo are three female headed households that got loans from the Sinqe bank. They each borrowed 13,500 birr with group collateral and have to pay back 19,500 birr in two years’ time. Membre Mamo, one of the beneficiaries, said,”…I am paying 800 birr monthly which I earn through the sale of Tell. My clients urinate around the main gate and the area has a bad smell. I and my children used to defecate in the bushes along the nearby riverbank. Since I bought the latrine, my clients are glad and I and my kids are enjoying a healthy life.”
BBBC has also constructed a wetland to treat faecal sludge at a condominium site in Shashamane. This has solved the acute sanitation problem of the households on the ground floor who were regularly inundated by a backflow of faecal sludge. Mersha Merid, Shashamane municipality sanitation and greenery team leader said, “…the residents used to visit our office to complain. Now we are relieved as BBBC has helped us in finding a solution. Having seen the result of this one, we requested BBBC to support us in the construction of another bigger wetland at another condominium site which was also completed successfully .“ Temsgen Wakjira Shashamane, sanitation team leader of water and sewerage enterprises, said “…we have shared our experience with other towns and we are requested to facilitate a site visit. We will be hosting visitors in the near future. He also added, ‘‘our engineer who worked closely with BBBC is supporting Adama water supply and sewerage enterprise to construct a similar facility at a condominium site in Adama town.” The beneficiary households and Shashamane town administration are happy with the affordable latrines and constructed wetlands and highly appreciated the technology transfer.