by Michael Chandler
Over 2.5 billion people – roughly 36 per cent of the world’s population – still lack what many of us take for granted: access to adequate sanitation. These people are often deprived of their dignity and privacy whilst being left vulnerable to the spread of disease and contaminated water.
In an effort to change that statistic, Dunster House Ltd, a leading manufacturer of timber garden buildings in the UK, has designed new sanitation solutions for humanitarian aid and international development.
The company has already become an Oxfam supplier and started launching its Raised Latrines and Latrine Superstructures to countries affected by conflict such as South Sudan where thousands of people are living in temporary camps or small villages without access to water and adequate sanitation facilities.
Angus McBride, Oxfam Roving Public Health Engineering Team Leader explains that humanitarian agencies have really struggled to construct latrines in South Sudan due to difficult soil conditions and difficulties in sourcing and transporting good quality materials.
And in Africa latrines are worth their weight in gold. “People who are living in camps are at increased risk of disease like diarrhoea or cholera. What is more, sexual and gender based violence is a big issue in the camps in South Sudan and ensuring latrines are high quality, made of sturdy materials and have good locking doors is an essential step towards preventing this”, says Angus McBride.
Dunster House has sent through Oxfam to South Sudan and Central African Republic over 122 of its new sanitation products, including raised latrines, superstructures and trenches.
The company has also recently got involved in a charity project with Unicef. Thanks to this cooperation another 400 superstructures and 400 squat plates will go to Chad – a country with one of the lowest rates of access to safe drinking water and sanitation services in the world.
Dunster House Ltd is also in talks with Medair (humanitarian organisation which provides a range of emergency relief and recovery services across the globe) for an order to make 100 superstructures and 50 double trenches.
Dunster House director, Chris Murphy explains: “We see a major need, especially in Africa in terms of sanitation, which affects many aspects of people’s lives. We are able to address this pressing need, while focusing on designing and manufacturing adequate sanitation for developing countries”. These latrines have been designed for built up urban areas and locations with rocky ground or high water table. They are ideal for domestic and communal use during the interim stage following an emergency situation.The raised platform and waste collection tanks present a stable construction for multiple cubicles – Latrine Superstructures which can be securely positioned on a top of a Squat Plate or Trench Latrine; or used to replace previous toilet facilities that have been damaged during a crisis. The new latrine is light weight and easily transported, allowing any individual to access a dignified toilet facility. One of the optional extras is 12v Off Grid Solar PV Lighting that can provide extra security and allow individuals to safely use a toilet facility at night.
Chris Murphy adds: “We are continuing to work hard on our new humanitarian solutions to help to tackle the sanitation crisis. That’s why we keep expanding our range – to suit different needs and requirements”.