Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ode to a Toilet: The Project Begins

This post will convey the importance of having a proper sanitation system and what Uniting Distant Stars intends to do about this in 2013. First, let’s identify the role of the toilet as follows:

Ode to a Toilet...
You go by so many names: commode, loo, john, pot, throne, porcelain god, and so on.
You serve a greater purpose by “flushing” away our bacteria-laden waste to maintain good health.
You allow us to “rest” for little or long while as we contemplate our to-dos for the day. 
You are often taken for granted by those who are fortunate to have one [or more] in their home.
You can be designed to convert our waste into fertilizer and even energy.
You are a simple device that can be easily maintained with just a little care.
You need to be honored and recognized for selfless commitment to our overall well-being

Here is the “poop” why toilets matter… 
  • Approximately 2.6 billion people (37% of the global populations) lack a proper toilet.
  • Those without a proper sanitation system are forced to openly defecate in areas that can contaminate water leading to the spread of diseases. Note: “one gram of feces may contain 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, 1000 parasite cysts and 100 worm eggs.”
  • Some of these diseases include diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and hepatitis A that can kill approximately 115 people in Africa every hour.
  • Adequate toilet facilities that are private and separate improve the attendance rate of school children and the enrollment of girls.
  • There are many more reason why a proper sanitation systems and hygiene standards is necessary for economic and other reasons.
       Source: WHO 10 Facts on Sanitation

In 2012, Uniting Distant Stars initiated an adopt-a-school project in Liberia to support the education of approximately 250 children at the Russ Wood Christian Academy. This commitment is beyond providing books and pencils, and includes the overall well-being of these children. This is why we have taken on as our 2013 capital improvement project the replacement of its substandard latrine (see pictures below) with an environmentally friendly and sustainable model.

We recently put out a request for toilet models on Facebook and Linkedin. To date we have received five responses from various organizations having WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) programs in developing nations. Three have already submitted their model types and are currently being reviewed. We plan to select the three models that meet the following criteria:
  • Uses no water
  • Inexpensive and simple to construct by community members and students from a local trade school.
  • Easily maintained and long-lasting
  • Appropriate for the Liberia cultural and environmental standards 
We will present them to Russ Wood’s school administration, and they will select one that is appropriate for their school.
We will continue to develop this project and provide an update after we have met with the school administration on what model they chose. We are still accepting recommendations of model types that meet our stated criteria. Please submit to

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