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Ecological Sanitation – a Success Story in the Republic of Moldova

WECF organized a study visit from 29 September – 1 October 2015 for NGOs and local stakeholders from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Republic of Macedonia, in cooperation with WiSDOM, Moldova

09.11.2015 |

The aims of the visit was to see (and test) Ecosan toilets in use and learn experiences from users, to meet governmental and academia representatives and NGOs for discussion and to understand how to implement Ecosan in the respective countries.

The absence of a formalised service provider is a typical situation in rural areas in the Republic of Moldova; public service providers for water and sanitation are mainly active in urban areas and in larger rural communities. When it comes to sanitation, a major issue is the lack of alternatives to sewerage systems which require relatively high capital expenditure. Sewers mostly fail to work in rural areas due to lack of funding, capacities and insufficient amounts of water. Consequently, poorly constructed simple pit latrines and septic tanks with soak pits are the most widely used sanitation systems in rural Moldova.

For locations where sewerage is not feasible due to small water consumption / wastewater production or because investment and operation costs would be unaffordable, WECF was one of the drivers raising awareness and demonstrating the feasibility of the urine diverting dry toilet (UDDT). This technology was first received with skepticism.

However, after extensive awareness raising, trainings, site visits to existing UDDT in other countries and pilot plants organized by several local NGOs and WECF, people and decision makers were quick to notice that these toilets are more comfortable to use than the old unhygienic and uncomfortable latrines. Another advantage was the direct attachment of the toilet block to the school building, especially during cold Moldovan winters.

Today mainly the NGOs Ormax and Wisdom promote ecosan for household and schools. And a project which has taking on the idea is Apasan (implemented by Skat Consulting and financed by the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency and co-financed by the Austrian Development Agency upon request by the Moldovan government) which has implemented more than 50 school toilets, since 2007.

These good experiences at the local level have informed national policy-making: The government is currently amending its regulation in order to refer to a code of practice on UDDT, which is also under development. In 2014, the Ministry of Health facilitated the use of UDDT by adopting requirements on the use of human waste (urine and feces) in agriculture.

Local Partners from Women in Development Shkoder (Albania), Eko Forum Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Journalists for Human Rights (FYR Macedonia) visited the UDDTs in Moldova and could see the UDDT or ecosan technology with their own eyes. During discussion with the local and national stakeholders they discussed the opportunities and challenges of ecosan and can now develop their plans for introducing ecosan in their own country.

The study visit is part of the project "Reducing chemicals and contamination of drinking water sources in rural communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia and Albania" funded by SAICM. 

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