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Rubengera Technical Secondary School

EcoSan Toilets

Rubengera, Rwanda


Communaute Diocesses Abaja Ba Kristo



Rubengera, Rwanda


The aim of this project, as part of the Rubengera Technical Secondary School masterplan, was to develop a toilet system that would be self-contained, require no plumbing, and would provide a comfortable and humane space for the staff and students of the school. It would renew the outdated pit latrines with a future-proof solution and trial a system that can be used in the proposed new dormitory building.


Research led to the specification of an ecological sanitation (ecosan) double-vault urine diverting dry toilet (UDDT) - a compost toilet. The housing toilet block design reuses an existing two-bay timber frame built by the carpentry students as part of their apprenticeship curriculum.


The prototype provides enough interior space for two toilet cubicles, a changing and storage room and a washing area, whilst three urinals can be installed at the exterior, suitably sheltered. Opaque enclosures and a lowered transom make the toilets and changing cubicles 'rooms in a room' with vertical louvres that bring in warm sunlight and allow views out to the mountain beyond.


As the facility is without plumbing, the wash basin is designed as a tip-tap, operating with a simple pulley. Stepping on a floor pedal pulls down on one end of a water container, allowing water to pour out. A pair of trestles supports the folded metal basin and racks for the towel, water container and soap. The basin is designed to be simple and portable and its production could perhaps become part of the students' hands-on curriculum.  


In a country where only 85% of the population has access to clean water, the ecosan toilet doesn’t require a water supply. There is no risk of contamination of the ground water, keeping springs and water sources clean. It creates no waste as it is recycled into compost that can be used as fertiliser for the 1000 eucalyptus trees planted by the school to supply their carpentry curriculum and commercial operation. Finally, the toilets provide a clean, private and pleasant facility for the staff and students of the school.

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