The Dreyer Foundation supports the development of latrines for disaster situations. One of the aims is to limit spreading of diseases.
Every year more than 1.5 million children die from diarrhoea that could have been prevented. To a large extent this is caused by unhygienic sanitary conditions. As a response to this, the design consultancy ICONO, supported by the Dreyer Foundation, wants to create a latrine to be used in disaster areas and in other areas around the world where sanitation is of poor quality or simply lacking.
“Our goal is not to create a high-tech solution but to develop a simple, sturdy and functional latrine that solves the basic needs and can be implemented quickly. The topic is tabooed and this might be one of the reasons why there are so few good solutions to the problem. People in camps all over the world live under incredibly poor conditions,” says Peter Bysted, CEO of ICONO A/S, who initiated the project in collaboration with Peter Kjær Mackie Jensen, head of the Copenhagen University “Master of Disaster” programme.
First step is the development of a prototype for testing. The challenge is to create an alternative to the often dark, smelly and insect infested latrines. Core of the new design is a wet or dry seal that covers the pit and the excreta, reducing smell and insects. Existing latrines are often kept dark in order not to attract insects, but the new model, surrounded by a tent, allows for light and air.
“A major reason why children do not use existing latrines, is that they are scared of the dark room and of falling into the scary pit. Ensuring a feeling of safety in a vulnerable situation is an important issue in all aspects of our design and development work. For example we will aim at making it possible for mothers to join their children inside the latrine superstructure. Latrines that are appealing to children, will no doubt also be appealing to adults,” says Peter Bysted.
When developing the latrine prototype the ICONO team will put emphasis on aesthetics combined with low production cost and implementation logistics. The prototype will be tested in Ghana in 2013 as a basis for further development.
The need is enormous – 2.5 billion live with inadequate sanitation or none at all.