12 May 2011 zichtbaarzijn

By Andre Engelbertink

British Hygiene is a retail shop in Lira.  When director Francis Olipa, was studying in England when he came in contact with a  company specialized in disinfection. He was so impressed by this company that he decided to start British Hygiene after returning to Uganda and started with the sale of fungicides and pesticides.  It was the disinfection that brought him into the field of sanitation nowadays he is running a pit latrine emptier and selling prefabs of  Ecosan toilets.

To our surprise, he had built several Ecosan toilet groups at a number of schools in the region and we were very pleased to hear that he was  willing to take us there  and show us the toilets.  How unexpected to find private initiative in this sector. The next hour we were sitting in a car on our way to a school run until a few years ago by a white headmistress. And apparently it had been this lady who brought the Ecosan toilet  to the school.

How great was our disappointment.  What was meant as a showcase, improving school sanitation standards was abandoned and not-functioning.  Modern technique, properly constructed, but without doubt not any longer in use.  Weeds were growing all around the toilets, a sign that it had not been in use for a long time. Francis could only utter that he had been at the spot for over two years. Later on we learned from the (new) director that he wasn’t so fond of this Ecosan toilets; one has to use ash  for cleaning and the toilets are not emptied (and transported elsewhere) like the pit latrines.

Training of Ecosan Toilet Artisans inUganda
Typically an example of a cultural misfit.  But who is a bit familiar with experiments in The Netherlands will not be surprised.  Experiments with Ecosan toilets  show that the average Dutch person used to the normal flushing toilets have similar aversion against the Ecosan toilet.

Later on we got the chance to use a very proper Ecosan toilet at the AMREF premises in Kitgum. Proof that it can work but as we all know it might be a tedious process to make it successful.

We advised ICCO  whom to partner with in the Acholi and Lango regions. We did not suggest British Hygiene, but for Francis Olipa it will not matter. He will anyhow continue with his British Hygiene shop and emptying pit latrines.

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