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< prev - next > Water and sanitation Sanitation KnO 100493_Using biogas technology to solve disposal issues of latrine waste (Printable PDF)
Using biogas technology to solve the disposal issues surrounding latrine waste
Practical Action
Organisational structure and management
On a basic level the implementation of a decentralised wastewater treatment system such as a
biogas digester will only be successful if the necessary knowledge and skills to operate and
maintain them are “available at the local level” (Parkinson & Tayler, 2003). It is therefore
“necessary to consider the development of an effective and needs responsive policy towards
the issue of wastewater management” (Hasan et al 2004). The Household Centred
Environmental Sanitation (HCES) approach provides a framework for people centred
decentralised wastewater management where the emphasis is not on waste as a burden but as
a resource. Decisions about implementation start at household level, rising up through the
community making sure that all users fully understand what is happening (Schertenleib &
Morel, 2003). The approach is very much holistic. The idea is by making the system “locally
organized and people-driven” (Heymans et al 2004) the community will pick up the necessary
skills and knowledge to maintain and operate the technology without any outside supervision,
providing a long lasting sustainable system. It is important to provide governmental policies
that are enabling and not prescriptive. It is far better for the community to embrace the
technology because they have been made aware of all the benefits than be told to embrace it
from a higher level of government. Many wastewater systems stop working due to neglect and
this kind of implementation will only lead to this situation.
Organisational structure is a context specific area of work for any technology implementation.
Therefore systems must be put in place to understand what best works for that particular
community and how can you get all the stakeholders collaborating in the most effective way.
The issue currently with organisational structure highlighted through research is that it forms
an unclosed loop, a situation which will never be sustainable. There are too many areas where
the process can break down due to corruption or cost cutting, which is a big problem at
survival level.
Figure 7: Typical Faecal Sludge Management Process
Flow of material making waste a resource
Current practices perceive waste as a burden. Therefore FSM often becomes a process, not a
cycle, where the material is moved from body to body. People want to remove the burden as
quickly as possible resulting in inappropriate dumping. Changing opinion of waste, will make
stakeholders want to hang on to and re-use it to benefit from its resources. This will make
management of faeces cyclical and therefore more sustainable bringing benefits back to the
Figure 8: Faecal Sludge Management with waste as a resource
This brings benefits to the organisational structure that can be financial as well as
environmental. People will only conform to this improved FSM if a degree of personal benefit
is conveyed. Therefore a reform of how the finances flow around the organisational structure is
needed to incentivise behaviour.
Flow of finances
Much like the problems seen in the flow of material, money flows through the process leaving
interactions weak and susceptible to corruption. The money flows from left to right constantly