STUDENT PROJECT: Human Waste Based Fertilizer 2014-15
During the first year of UniWASH, the first cohort of student teams studied the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) situation in six primary schools in Northern Uganda. One student team identified the poor condition of pit latrines as a major challenge for children’s right to safe sanitation and hygiene in schools. As the latrines fill up, they are not emptied on a regular basis due to high cost or lack of service providers. During the process the student teams concentrated first on research and fact finding and then created a concept called PoopLoop - an idea to approach faecal sludge from value chain perspective where emptying latrines is made into lucrative business model through reuse of latrine sludge in farming.
PoopLoop, is a holistic model of utilising human waste-based fertilizer in farming. Simply put, human waste is drained from school and community latrines by locals and turned into organic fertilizer that can be sold and used in school, community and family gardens for enhancing crop yield. The concept intends to turn human waste-based fertilizer, originated from the school latrines, into a sustainable business for the communities and their small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The concept is envisioned to benefit Acholi communities in many ways: the sanitation and hygiene conditions in schools improve as latrines are emptied more often and at a lower cost. Using fertilizer increases the yield of food crops which results in more food available for children and their families.
PoopLoop also boosts the economic activity, and thus vitality, of the communities; draining services and the production and sales of fertilizer and crops will create sustainable business activity and raise the community income level. Finally, PoopLoop fulfills the UNICEF goal of capacity building as adults in the communities gain new skills, confidence and capacity to support themselves and their children in a sustainable way.