Have a read as Matt King blogs his experience of working on the 'Sanitation in Challenging Environments' project!
The Adventure Begins... An Adventure of Toilets
So I am 2 weeks into my Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Placement here in Cambodia. My role is Facilitator and Technical Mentor for Sanitation in Challenging Environments Vanuatu. This placement is a partnership between EWB Australia and EWB New Zealand and is funded by Australian Aid (DFAT).
Why am I in Cambodia you ask?
EWB has had a Sanitation in Challenging Environments program in Cambodia for several years and I am here to connect with the current team, Andrew Kalhoof and Piseth Kim. Over the next few weeks, I will be working alongside Andrew and Piseth to develop an understanding of their program. From this experience, I will start a similar program in Vanuatu in mid-January.
The team: EWB SCE team of Piseth, Matt and Andrew with Vi- our contractor making the prototype latrine
At the beginning of each Field Professional placement, EWB facilitates a series of workshops to orientate and introduce new volunteers to the policies and practices of EWB, cultural awareness and sites and scenes of the city. Basically making it easy to settle into a new place. These workshops are facilitated by current volunteers who have been in the country for several months. So a big thanks to Andrew, Sophie, Lachlan, Fatima and Becky for your dedication and support to all us nEWBies!
Projects we’ve been working on
The most common toilet system in rural Cambodia is a squat toilet, piped to a concrete tank with a series of holes for liquid to drain away. In flood situations or where there is a high ground water table, these systems can pollute surface or subsurface water causing major health and environmental problems.
To address this problem, we are working on the construction of a prototype Multi-Chamber Pit Latrine. This prototype aims to be a simple and cheap retrofit to settle out solids, filter through sand and gravel and increase retention time to reduce the pathogen levels before it is discharged into the soil.
Piseth measuring up the latrine moulds
We are also developing a Mason’s Manual - a guide for installers and homeowners that details particular elements of latrine design and construction that make it more robust and suitable for challenging environments. We are currently putting together a series of illustrations to convey the key messages. Once these initial illustrations are completed, Andrew and Piseth will be engaging with installers to refine and publish the manual.
It has been great to be a part of the EWB Cambodia team over the last few weeks. The collaboration and enthusiasm in the work they do awesome to be a part of.
On to Vanuatu..
Keep posted for more from Matt!