Simplicity is the solution – Sanitation in South Africa and Nepal
WorldSkills Competition Gold Medalists Shane Trevitt (UK) and Ciaran Coady (Ireland) recently visited Diepsloot, South Africa to help Australian company Healthabitat implement a Sanitation Studio.
In collaboration with community partner WASSUP, they worked closely with local skilled plumbers to develop the design and construction of toilets that will improve health standards for residents in Diepsloot.
This Sanitation Studio is one of four international Healthabitat projects supported by the WorldSkills Foundation.
The project was a great success with WASSUP estimating that Shane and Ciaran’s contribution over the ten-day period will help improve basic levels of sanitation for 500-1000 people in the immediate area.
Reflecting on the experience Ciaran realised how much he takes for granted at home, “We have three toilets between two people in my house. In Diepsloot it’s estimated there are 50 people for every toilet available.”
Shane and Ciaran’s efforts have ensured WASSUP and Healthabitat will further collaborate on data evaluation, ongoing technical support and a project review in late 2014.
Paul Pholeros, Director of Healthabitat described their work as extraordinary, “While I’ve led similar projects in many parts of the world, I have rarely seen people so young exude such competence and ease dealing with the local community.”
The 2014 South African Studio follows successfully on the heels of the 2013 Nepal Sanitation Studio, which took place in a remote Nepalese village outside Kathmandu. Here Healthabitat and WorldSkills Competition Experts worked with local teams using accessible materials to install a series of trial rainwater diverters in toilet flushers.
The WorldSkills plumbing team included Australian Grant Stewart collaborating with three other plumbers from Australia, Canada and America.
The team reported seeing pride in the faces of villagers as the impact of their work started to make a real difference to their everyday lives.
“You get great progress when you put passionate people in touch with tough problems. In Nepal the problems are complex, but sometimes the solutions are quite simple,” says Paul Pholeros.
The Studio is further supported by The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), RMIT University (Australia) and the World Plumbing Council.