The Columbian Embassy, in partnership with the South-South Cooperation Project, has trained about 70 Ghanaians and Togolese on the Toilet Garden (TG) system.
TG system is a decomposable organic toilet, based on a simple technology that generates manure for plant growth rather than fecal waste. It is a model that consists of two toilets and a depuration garden, in which human manure is biologically treated through microorganisms that live in sawdust or soil.
In a six-day workshop, held at Sunbeam International School, Kokrobite, about 70 participants from all ten regions of Ghana and others from Togo were given theoretical and practical lessons on planning, building and maintaining the facility for a longer life-span.
The Columbian Ambassador to Ghana, Claudia Turbay Quintero, speaking at the event said: “The aim of this six-day workshop on TG systems is not only to build toilets, but also bring a change in cultural habits that will improve quality of life, create job avenues and promote gender-based changes in communities.
“I encourage you to hold onto the knowledge acquired and replicate it in your various communities to drive change toward open defecation. You have been trained to be agents in your various communities and regions to propagate the project.”
The Project Manager and Director of Mapa Bosque, Columbia – Architect Juliana Ramirez Rodriguez – counselled the participants to replicate and multiply the idea in their various communities.
“Sanitation issues are usually with maintenance rather than putting the structure in place. I would therefore encourage you to also pay particular attention to maintenance,” she said
Permaculture and Agro-ecologist of Kodama, Columbia – Cesar Florian, in an interview with the B&FT said the system is designed to be used without water, which is very scarce in some communities.
“This technology is common in Columbia and other South America countries. You do not need water. All you need is proper maintenance so that it will last longer.
“Each toilet consists of three holes, which are to be used on rotational basis. When the first is full, you cover it and use the second and then third; after which the first one becomes empty again due to the microbiological activities. The microorganisms in the sawdust or soil feed on the waste and produce manure for the flowers or garden around the toilet,” he said.
Mrs. Claudia Turbay Quintero further extended appreciation to the partners and government of Ghana for realising the need for such an important community intervention that will promote development.
“The Columbian Embassy’s collaboration with the South-South Cooperation Project provides technocrats and resources for social intervention and community development.
“On this project, we were also partnered by Zoomlion, AMA, Ministry of Youth and Sports through the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), Krokrobite Institute and Girl Guides, and I would like to thank all of them for their immense contribution,” she said.
The Director of Sunbeam International Foundation, Dr. Edward Nonoo, expressed his profound gratitude to the Columbian Embassy for choosing his institution for the pilot project.
“We have been having serious sanitary issues here in this school, due to water challenges. This project does not require water to use, which is a great joy to us because now we don’t need water to use the facility – and it is very hygienic with zero-smell,” he said.
The system is made up of sawdust or clay powder for the bio aspects, air-bricks for the structure and wood/roofing sheets for the top cover, which makes it affordable and easy to construct.