Ebushibungo 2010

Ebushibungo Latrine for Girls

Implementation: Summer 2010
Construction and opening ceremony: June & July 2010; PM: Molly Bruggeman, moc.liamg|nameggurbm#moc.liamg|nameggurbm;
Finishing touches: August 2010; PM: Griffin Stevens, moc.liamg|987sbg#moc.liamg|987sbg
Follow-up visit: Summer 2011; PM: Kiera McNelis, moc.liamg|silencmkk#moc.liamg|silencmkk

Community Contacts: Shadrak Okango (was head of school management committee, Shadrak and his wife Sophie housed the travel team)

Project design: An 8 stall composting latrine - 4 stalls on each side of a central hallway for a total of 8 stalls - and four composting chambers below. The chambers below run perpendicular to the length of each stall above. There are two sets of toilet holes in each stall, and one set must be closed at all times. However the two central composting chambers are connected, in effect creating three composting chambers below. This means that for any given side of the hallway, the sets of holes closest to the hallway (one set of holes per stall) must be open at the same time so the fused central chamber below can fill. Once it is filled, the set of holes closest to the hallway in each stall must be closed and the sets of holes furthest from the hallway must be opened, so that the exterior two chambers can fill while the central chamber is composting.

Project Challenges:

1. The EWB Kenya Team (Jackson) did not have enough time to prepare the community for us to work there, putting the school management committee in a position of having to accept the the project as proposed or not have a project that summer. This damaged our reputation before we came to the community and made it harder to build relationships and hear honest feedback – many people did not know we were working there until we started construction, and some were hesitant to bring up potential problems because they feared if they did we would pull the plug on the project. Prevention of similar situations in the future: Give the EWB Kenya more time to prepare the community and ensure they are actually building trust with the community, not just handing them a list of our demands. Build more time into the trip to discuss and work on the design with members of the community while the team is on the ground.

2. The head contractor and sub-contractor had personality conflicts. They did not agree with each other about each others’ respective roles. Prevention: Check to make sure the contractors are discussing their roles and reaching a mutual agreement about them. Recommend leaving those decisions in their and the SMC’s hands, but facilitating the process as needed.

3. The original slab was of such poor quality that we had to brace it/pour a second slab on top of parts of it. Prevention: Hold a training for fundis on concrete making, specify mix ratios needed when discussing materials purchase, briefly discuss this plan again right before the slab is poured.

4. We presented the design to the contractors and SMC by drawing it on the chalkboard and on pieces of paper, then we asked for their input on the design. Many Kenyans did not comprehend this format, but were too embarrassed to say so. Prevention: Present models in 3-D, using cardboard, scissors and tape or whatever is available. Use the 3-D model as a guide during the construction process.

5. We agreed that the site the SMC selected for the latrine was really the only place we could build the latrine. We were warned about the potential of water flooding into the site of the latrine from the road, and we agreed to build gutters on the latrine to stave off flooding during the rainy season. Griffin’s team planned on installing gutters in August, but were unable to finish that before they left Kenya. There have been problems with water flooding the composting chambers since. Prevention: Set aside some funds in the budget for unexpected additions.


1. Female travel team members convened a classroom full of upperclassmen girls and their female teachers, discussed latrine design and got the girls’ input/ tried to gauge their understanding of how pit latrines vs. composting latrines work.

2. During the meeting with the contractors, SMC, head teacher, Jackson and our travel team in which we negotiating the price of construction with the contractors, we went over their initial quote item by item and compared it to the price the Kenyan government would pay contractors for their services on a similar project. This process drastically decreased the cost of the project (as the contractors were hugely overcharging us for their services, while their quotes on construction materials were fair).