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  • Writer's pictureUbunye

Putting the 'Beautiful' back into Toilets: May 2021 Update

Before we give you the lowdown on what's been happening during April and May, please let us explain where all this comes from: for Ubunye, ‘communities come first’ and that means we encourage them to design and own the programmes and we work together with them as partners to get it done. Each programme in Ubunye has a Programme Working Group (PWG) made up of 5 community members and 2 Ubunye staff. The ECD Programme called Isisekelo has their PWG too. All PWGs meet every month and it is here that the members work together to discuss what is happening in communities and what new needs there are. It is also a time for the group to design new projects and to celebrate successes and find solutions to challenges of existing projects.

In one such meeting in March 2021, the Isisekelo PWG members decided that the first step for this project would be talking with the ECD centres – both children and ECD practitioners – and finding out what a beautiful toilet would look like to them. So that is what has been happening. There were some interesting, fun and energetic toilet discussions with both children and practitioners at each of the 10 ECD centres! We’ll be sharing these with you in our future blogs…

So the next step was to see if there were toilets in South Africa that meet those fairly distinct ideas, then with the children and ECD practitioners whittle the toilet design down to one preferred type, which was identified as the Ecosan Waterless Toilet.

But here we hit a snag!

These toilet systems are expensive. Currently we are being quoted at R9 300 per unit and that excludes VAT and delivery! If we want 2 toilets per centre and for some centres we need a new building, we will hit our available cash limits very quickly.

But Ubunye is not to be deterred. We are currently negotiating with Ecosan for a better price, but also looking around for alternative and local manufacturers, and broadening our fundraising base.

In the meantime, and on a cheerier and very exciting note, we have had another offer we can’t refuse! Students at the locally based Rhodes University (Community Engagement) some with brilliant drawing skills have volunteered to come and work with the children to paint the new toilet blocks once they are up. We are working with local builders’ merchants to donate the painting material but our aim is to gradually cover the toilets of all the 45 ECD centres we are currently working with and make these the most beautiful ECD centre toilets in South Africa!

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