Fertilizer from ecological latrines
Sanitary latrines restore women's dignity as they no longer suffer the humiliation of going to toilet in the open.
In rural Malawi, WaterAid and local partner organizations are helping poor communities to build composting latrines that not only reduce people's exposure to deadly diseases - they produce fertilizer too.
A composting or ecological sanitation (eco-san) latrine turns human waste into a rich fertilizer that can be used to boost agricultural yields.
Mwenyenguzu Alifa, 52, from Mzalule village, explains how the composting latrines work: "These latrines have two pits where you let the contents of the first pit decompose whilst you use the second pit.
I have bought more seeds so that I can start growing more trees and
fruits and I'm very hopeful the manure will help me start making a good
"By the time the second pit is full the first pit can be dug out and
the compost used for our gardens. This means that you don't have to
keep moving your latrine when it's full as you just switch between the
two pits. I quickly saw the advantage of using compost from old pits as
my plants would benefit."
For Alifa the new latrines mean a good chance of improving his livelihood: "I have bought more seeds so that I can
start growing more trees and fruits and I'm very hopeful the manure
will help me start making a good income."
Composting latrines are ecologically friendly and a great source of fertilizer.
Credit: WaterAid / Jon Spaull
In a recent podcast, Bhushan Tuladhar from WaterAid's partner Environment and Public Health
Organization in Nepal discusses the problems caused by unhygienic
sanitation and what his organization is doing to tackle them, including
the use of composting (or ecosan) latrines. Visit our audio page to download the mp3
Learn how WaterAid and its partners are improving the lives of poor and
vulnerable communities in Malawi by increasing their access to safe
water, sanitation and hygiene education. Read full story on our Malawi page