On November 19th organizations around the globe observed World Toilet Day, designated by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness of the 2.4 billion people who live without improved sanitation and the nearly 1 billion people who must defecate in the open. This awareness is not new to Architects Without Borders-Oregon. AWB-Oregon has designed basic toilet facilities for several communities including most recently for the Minzoto School being rebuilt in Dungu, Democratic Republic of Congo. The Minzoto project team faced logistical, environmental, and cultural issues when designing the school's latrine. Though a proposed composting latrine would have been longer lasting and better for the environment it required removal and treatment of waste products in a culture where handling of these is taboo. When presented with several options the school selected AWB's design for a ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine which is common in the region. The design includes hand-washing stations, and diversion of urine to a soakage pit in order to extend the functional life of the facility and reduce groundwater contamination. While working on this project the Minzoto team assembled documents on toilet systems around the world. This collection--nicknamed the "Loo Library"--will serve as a resource for future teams of volunteers.
Ventilated pit latrine for Minzoto School, Democratic Republic of Congo
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