Karibu! Welcome!

Since 2004, EWB@ MSU's professional and student volunteers have worked with community members in Khwisero, Kenya to provide water and sanitation infrastructure at the district's 58 primary schools, making it easier for Khwisero's children to avoid waterborne disease and get an education.

In that time, the group has grown from a small club to one of MSU's premier student organizations, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund seven borehole wells, six composting latrines and a biogas latrine that serve thousands of community members.

Thank you for joining us as we continue to work hand-in-hand with local partners to make a difference in one small part of our world. As Western Kenya's limited internet access allows, we will update this blog while in-country with the successes, stories and lessons provided by our work.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

One week down for Team One

Team One arrived in Nairobi last Thursday, and spent a day in the city before boarding our eight-hour bus ride out to Kwhisero.

While in Nairobi, we met with Ronald, and toured a set of Biogas latrines built in the Kibera slum (the second largest in Africa) by a group called the Umande Trust. The biogas latrines there are designed to alleviate two of the slum's most pressing issues, inadequate sanitation facilities and limited fuel for cooking, by harvesting methane produced as human waste decomposes.

Back in Khwisero, we're in the first stages of implementing a similar design at Shirali Primary School, where we installed pilot composting latrines last summer and put in our first well in 2006.

This past week, we met with the school management committee, and were pleased to hear their enthusiasm for the project. At present, we're preparing to excavate for the system's digester dome, and have completed an initial material cost estimate.

The school management committee has requested we size the project to serve the school's 300 female students (the working plan is to construct composting latrines for the boys later this year). Once completed, the biogas latrine will replace the open pit latrines currently in use, preventing sewage contamination of local groundwater and saving the community the cost and effort of regularly digging new latrines.

--Eric Dietrich, Team One 2009

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