As part of institutional efforts geared towards enhancing the academia-community relations through development and outreach programs, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has constructed a urine-diverting dry toilet (UDDT) at Gachororo School that operates without water and does not have oduor or vector problems.
According to Dr. James Messo, a Senior Lecturer at JKUAT Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Engineering and the Principle Investigator of the UDDT, the sanitation system which is the first of its kind in Juja, is designed with separate compartments for urine and faeces to harvest dry excreta.
The dry excreta management method, Dr. Messo said, has been researched widely and the findings have indicated that faeces and urine can be used as an alternative source of fertilizer, since urine is rich in nitrogen, while fecal matter is rich in potassium and phosphorous.
“Why buy NPK fertilizer when your body is a natural system that manufactures it? The entire process requires harvesting the “raw materials” and sanitizing them before their use,” Dr. Messo explained.
The project which was handed over by SWEED to Gachororo Primary School Head Teacher Ms. Eveline Wanjohi on Thursday, February 18, 2021, was funded by Africa-ai-Japan to the tune of Ksh. 800,000.
Mr. Austin Otieno who is a PhD student at JKUAT, is currently doing further research on the project, studying the performance of biomass harvested from the dry toilet in the production of briquettes, as a potential sustainable source of alternative energy for use at household level.
Mr. Otieno is under the supervision Prof. Patrick Home, Dr. Messo and Dr. Sylvia Murunga all JKUAT lecturers from SWEED.
Speaking during the handing over ceremony at Gachororo Primary School in Juja, Dr. Messo expressed his gratitude to Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for funding the project, noting, the facility will go a long way in ensuring the primary school with a total of 2018 students has hygienic sanitation.
Dr. Messo further said, the University students pursuing sanitation related units will now have another additional “laboratory” for their practicals.
The acting Registrar, Research Production and Extension, Dr. Patrick Mbindyo who officiated the opening of the facility on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, thanked the Management of Gachororo Primary School for welcoming and supporting the project throughout the construction period.
Dr. Mbindyo urged Ms. Wanjohi to assemble a team and visit the university for a learning tour to JKUAT to interact with more technological innovations developed by researchers and innovators and could be useful to the her institution.
Prof. Home who was also present during the ceremony, urged the members who were present not to stigmatize the technology saying it has been widely adopted across the world.
On her part, Ms. Wanjohi thanked JKUAT for the facility noting that her institution was in dire need of support.
“We currently have 2018 students and 35 teaching staff who will now be able to access and utilize the facility,” said. Ms. Wanjohi.
Ms. Wanjohi said she is looking forward to more partnerships with the University on initiatives to benefit the development of the local community.
Other speakers at the ceremony included: Dr. Joseph Sang (Chair, SWEED), Dr. Murunga (Co-Principal Investigator), Mr. Austin Otieno and Dan Okeyo (both PhD and MSc students respectively) and Mr. William Maiyo of University Community Development and Outreach.