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Table of Contents:

1. Background
2. Design of Toilets
3. Composting
4. Construction -- Base & Vaults
5. Construction--Pad Fabrication
6. Construction--Superstructure
7. Finished!
8. Monitoring & Evaluation
9. EcoSan Resources


Eco-San Toilets for Kovalam
Monitoring and Evaluation

Goals, Phase I (Feb. 2008 to Feb. 2009)
In cooperation with the Chennai based Rain Centre, our goal during this phase is to construct 20 to 22 units throughout Kovalam village. Twelve of the units are to be built using funds raised by the Japan Students' Fund (JSF)* and ten by the Rain Centre.

Construction of the eco-san toilet units has been entrusted to the Coastal and Rural Development Trust (CRDC), a small indigenous non-profit based in Kovalam. CRDC has a good track record and is locally led.

The first phase is a demonstration and evaluation phase to help answer the following questions:

1.  Are dry-composting, urine-diverting toilets acceptable to the community; if built will they be used.

2.  Are there any problems with the design? Any modifications required in future construction.

3.  Can units be constructed within our budget?

4.  Are families willing to use their own financial resources to build and maintain the toilets?

Monitoring of the units: Are they used by all household members or only women? Are they careful to use as directed, i.e., separation of feces, urine and wash water? Are the units used for purposes other than as intended?

August 2008: In August, Dave returned to Kovalam to monitor progress. Seventeen units had been completed and three additional units were planned. Here are his preliminary findings:

1. Use:
 Positives: The eco-san toilets are generally accepted by the community and by the toilet owners. The first toilets built were well used and, in fact, the first vault was nearly full in several of the units and nearby neighbors asked us to help them build eco-san units.  As expected, the units were free of odors and flies--with one exception.  In the exception, the family was not covering the waste with ash after each use.
Negatives:  a) However, we found that 3 of the units were not being used.  The owning families gave several reasons, none really plausible. Further investigation suggests they were simply uncomfortable with the idea of 'saving' and handling the their composted waste.
b) Of the 3 un-used units, 2 were being used only as wash (shower) rooms. Some of the other units were also being used as wash rooms; the composting process won't work if the waste is becomes overly wet. 
    However, this experience does tell us the importance of including 'private' washing facilities for women.

February, 2009:  We returned to Kovalam with a group of Japanese college students.  Three additional units had been completed by our partner (Coastal Rural Development Trust or CRDT). Two other units  partially completed.  The 3 un-used toilets (see 'Negatives' above) were still unused

The students tested nine (9) of the wells and ponds in the village that are currently in use for the presence of fecal coliforms. All of the tests were positive.  We can only speculate that the major source of the feces is from open defecation and, in the fishing kuppam from pit latrines or septic systems (about 1/3rd of the homes in the kuppam have some sort of latrine).





* Note 1: The Japan Students' Fund (JSF) is an association of students attending colleges in Japan.  JSF helps raise funds for small community development projects in India. Asia Initiatives also made a significant contribution to the Kovalam Eco-San project.

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