Project Lead(s): Corinne Wallace
The lack of appropriate treatment of human waste, especially in rural communities, is unnecessarily contributing to morbidity and mortality.
Any innovation to manage wastewater must address the double-jeopardy of financing the infrastructure for collecting human waste (such as toilets or latrines) and providing incentives for the use of these facilities.
Because of the negative impact of discharging untreated human waste into the environment, any solution must also include a wastewater treatment component, to reduce levels of nutrients, pathogens and contaminants.
The goal of the From Waste to Wealth project was to examine the feasibility of providing sanitation services through profits made from waste by-products.
The objective was to develop a national multi-sectoral strategy for wastewater management and sanitation services, based on the ‘Waste to Wealth’ concept.
The feasibility was undertaken in Uganda because of the pressing need for sanitation services, the interest of the national government in biogas generation, and the strong connections in that country at the level of communities, grass roots organizations, academic institutions and government.
The feasibility study consisted of two stakeholder consultation workshops, laboratory staff training on analysis of biomethane potential (BMP) of various feedstocks, using a protocol developed specifically for low-resource settings, a baseline survey of existing anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities in Uganda and BMP experiments.
The first phase of the project has provided evidence that there are financially sound solutions for providing sanitation that can be applied in Uganda.
These findings were included in a business plan report that was shared with stakeholders in workshops, spelling out a model of AD implementation in five different settings, a national framework for development of an AD sector, and a strong partnership for implementation.
A financially sustainable model was developed for improving sanitation services in urban and rural settings in Uganda that will generate economic incentives for providing sanitation services and infrastructure.
There exists broad stakeholder commitment to the From Waste to Wealth concept, and the development of an AD sector that includes government, civil society, community, institutional and private-sector support.
In a proposed Phase II of the initiative, implementation of the strategy will improve access to sanitation, reducing morbidity and childhood mortality related to gastrointestinal illness, and increasing life expectancy.
Knowledge about this project has been disseminated in conference presentations.