Participating countries
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Participating countries
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Project Area:
Kushtia Municipality is a medium sized city with a population of 1,750,000 inhabitants. Like other urban areas in Bangladesh, this municipality also faces the problem of  irregular cleaning of latrines and septic tanks and thereby overflow of sewage and clogging of septic tanks especially in narrow and densely populated areas due to lack of modern equipment of sewage collection and disposal.

Partner profile: Shubashati is a non-profit national non-governmental development organisation established in 1996. It has been endeavouring to engender a participatory process of development and succeeded in pioneering an approach that puts human development at the center of its vision. Shubashati has been working at the grass root level for the low-income urban communities and has a lot of experience in community based sewage and solid waste disposal in small and medium sized municipal towns. The NGO has been working in both urban and rural infrastructure and service oriented projects like solid waste disposal, slum improvement, health and sanitation for a decade in partnership with Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and the local Municipalities.


Project Area:
Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya, is the second largest slum in Africa with a population of approximately 700.000 inhabitants (there is no census has been carried out in Kibera and hence estimates vary between 350,000 to one million). The settlement covers an area of 225ha and is strategically placed to provide labour to Nairobi’s industrial area and city centre. Due to the characteristics of the settlement: the high density, unplanned and crowded houses together with a lack of infrastructure it has led to acute problems of drainage, sanitation and solid waste management. Within Kibera, there are 11 villages in which the Vacutug project is operating in two of these villages: Soweto East and Laini Saba.

Partner profile: Maji na Ufanisi, a Kenyan NGO, is mandated to provide sustainable water and environmental sanitation in slums and Arid and Semi arid lands (ASAL). The NGO up to 1997 was the former WaterAid in Nairobi and then became an independent local organisation.

Through Maji na Ufanisi, the project was handed over to two community based organisations, Ushirika wa Usafi Laini Saba and Soweto Usafi group. These two organisations continue to manage the vacutug in Kibera independently.


Project Area:
Medicine Sans Frontier (MSF) was interested in integrating the Vacutug technology into its Cholera Prevention Project in the low-income neighbourhood (bairro) of Urbanizaηγo in Maputo, which was heavily affected in the 1990’s by four cholera epidemics. In order to reduce cholera incidences the project improved water supply, sanitation (excreta, solid waste and wastewater management) and worked on hygiene promotion. It was anticipated that the project funds generated from the Vacutug would allow the community to financially support components of the Cholera Prevention project. In Maptuo there exists 3 conventional exhausters, which serve the entire city, because of their size these exhausters are restricted to servicing a portion of the household latrines. The Vacutug services the remaining areas.

Although not the largest informal settlement in Maputo, Bairro de Urbanizacao was chosen because it has all the characteristics of a peri urban settlement: high population density, poor infrastructure, low income and has had very little external intervention.  The settlements has an average 20,000 people or 2200 families, small industries, the environmental conditions are such that make cholera prevalent: High water table, waste dumps, frequent flooding and poor drainage.

At the onset of the project the demand for the UN-HABITAT Vacutug was very high: approximately 25% of the latrines were full and 50% half full and coupled with the Cholera epidemic at the beginning of the year, the management of excreta was critical.

Partner profile:
Medecins Sans Frontier (MSF Maputo), an international organisation is implementing the project under its “Associacao de Desenvolvimento de Agua e Saneamento do Bairro de Urbanizacao: ADASBU)”.  ADASBU is a residents association working on water, hygiene and sanitation issues in the Bairo Urbanizacao, operated the machine. The project was taken over by WaterAid in July 2004 but continued to work in Bairro de Urbanizacao.

 South Africa

Project Area:
The areas being served, namely Bendell and Bakerville, are rural and peri-urban areas. This is the only project country where the UN-HABITAT Vacutug is being tested in peri-urban and rural areas. . The organisation is the Department of Developmental Local Government in the North West Province.  The conceptual idea is that the Department will make funds available to the Trust to test the machine in areas where they have previously stored VIPs and which are now full.
Since in these areas there are no sewage treatment facilities, and the density is comparable to Kibera, the sludge will be emptied into a shallow pit alongside the toilet and the machine will travel empty between the houses.
Partner profile: Mvula Trusts’ mission is to contribute to improving the health and livelihoods of poor and disadvantaged South-Africans in rural and peri-urban communities through facilitating delivery of integrated and sustainable water, sanitation and related services. This is done by supporting the government in the delivery of sustainable, reliable and affordable water services; testing and advocating sustainable models of cost-effective water service delivery; and by maximising the capacity building and economic benefits of water investments for poor communities.


Project Area:
About 85% of Dar es Salaam City population relies on on-site sanitation systems. Therefore there is a huge demand for an emptying service which the Dar es Salaam City Council and City Water firm cannot meet. Currently there are 30 vacuum trucks serving the city, most of which are privately owned, they charge a mean rate of Tshs 25,000 (approx $24) for this service.  The Vacutug has been operating in Vingunguti and tested in Kipawa, Mogo and Mwananyamala- Kisiwani. Vingunguti is one of the 22 wards in Illala District, near the industrial area on the way to the airport.   According to the 2002 National Census Vingunguti had a population of 68,923, living in an area of 48ha (0.70 m2 per person). Information provided by EEPCO states that 33% of the Vingunguti area has a high groundwater table, and during the rainy season the pits over flow contaminated the nearby shallow wells and outbreaks of cholera are not uncommon.  The settlement has wide but unsurfaced access roads with some quite narrow tracks leading to groups of houses. Due to poor accessibility to most latrines by conventional exhauster vans, sanitary conditions of the settlement remained poor, making it suitable for Vacutug services.

Partner profile:
EEPCO is a local NGO formed with the aim of improving the living environment of Tanzania by designing and implementing environmental orientated Projects and strengthening local capacity in human resource development.
EEPCO has been involved in the operational review of Dar es Salaam City Council’s (DCC) vacuum trucks, in the Sustainable Dar es Salaam Programme. The DCC does not have enough vacuum trucks to suffice the demand in the city and regardless of this these trucks would not be suitable for servicing low-income settlements.
EEPCO (Environmental Engineering and Pollution Control Organisation) is a national, not-for-profit organisation. This project falls under EEPCO’s “Low cost water and sanitation projects”, and is being implemented in Vingunguti: an informal settlement between the airport and Dar es Salaam. Vingunguti has wide but unsurfaced access roads with some quite narrow tracks leading to groups of houses.  Each house has on average 25 residents. It was estimated that the Vacutug can reach around 75% of the pits in Vingunguti with the 30 metres of hose supplied. EEPCO has endeavoured to link all the Vacutug activities with the local government, local leaders and CBO’s in Vingunguti.


Project Area:
The Vacutug has been tested in the peri-urban areas of Dakar: Youf, Baraka, Arafat I &II, Castors and Diokoul which in total have a population of 400,000. The settlements are within Rufisque where the field tests have been carried out. In Castors and Diokoul the groundwater table is high, and therefore removing wastewater is criticial. ENDA through their PADE project constructed a simplified sewerage system with a small wastewater treatment pond and have integrated the Vacutug to assist in exhausting the waste at each manhole.

 Partner profile: ENDA is an internationally well known NGO whose mandate is to improve the standard of living for poor people in developing countries. The Vacutug project is under the management of RUP (Participatory Urban Development). RUP is responsible for the provision of basic services to low income areas, they have developed a best practice on low-cost shallow sewerage, the “Rufisque” project. In this project ENDA RUP has partnered with Fιdιration des GIE de Diokoul et Castors.

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