Developing Productive Sanitation for Flood-Affected and Floating Communities

Man surrounded by flood water

Live & Learn International have been working with flood-affected and floating communities in Cambodia to develop appropriate and productive sanitation solutions that are effective and affordable. With an innovative and holistic approach, Live & Learn have adapted ‘productive sanitation’ technologies such as ecosan toilets and biodigesters to work in difficult conditions and produce fertilizer and biogas. Integrating sanitation with agricultural, energy, and livelihoods outcomes has made sanitation possible and attractive where it was unavailable previously.

Project objectives

  • Develop affordable and appropriate sanitation technologies and systems for floating and flood-affected communities using a participatory design approach
  • Develop supply and management systems for the sustained access and operation of sanitation solutions, including building the capacity of local communities
  • Demonstrate sanitation systems integrated with climate-resilient agriculture producing food production, income, and energy benefits within communities to encourage awareness and uptake
  • Disseminate outcomes to highlight the issues of floating and flood-affected communities and the benefits of innovative sanitation solutions

Successes

  • Innovative ecosan toilets and floating biodigesters have been developed and demonstrated, successfully capturing and managing waste for the first time in floating and flood-affected communities.
  • Communities have access to technologies and techniques for improved sanitation, food production, and energy production, and are directly benefiting from them and able to sustain them.
  • Demonstration sites and farms are in place as models for further dissemination

Challenges

  • Remoteness and access to the communities, and lack of existing sanitation markets
  • Innovation can progress uncertainly, as there is not a model to copy and due to resistance to change and a lack of resources/capacity
  • Funding has been unpredictable, short-term, and piecemeal, confining the program’s ability to undertake a continual comprehensive approach.