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Cotonou, Benin Project

The demonstration area has a severe lack of sanitation facilities. Where any sanitation exists (like this 'pay per use' system - left), it may simply drop directly into a water body. Otherwise, the' black bag' system of disposal (right) is used.


Homeowner and Chuck (right); Dana (Chief of Party) and Carol from PSI, and Richard from Benin government.

We had a very enthusiastic group of plumbers and carpenters learning how to assemble the EarthAugers.


The EarthAugers were installed in housings made of a variety of materials: bamboo, corregated sheet metal, and even a recycled booth for selling phone cards!

Three different low-cost housing materials, the first with a simple hand washing station.

The Project:

This demonstration project was conducted in the high-density urban area of Cotonou. The intent was to investigate the effectiveness of the EarthAuger in flood-prone areas, but also where expected use could beup to 30 users per day per toilet. Although the EA is ideally designed for a household of 4-6, it was felt that in many cases the number of users could not be controlled, so we wanted to see how it worked under these conditions.

The targeted areas of the pilot are also areas that are traditionally low income and lack access to improved sanitation. The two project neighborhoods are situated next to the lagoon that splits Cotonou in half, and are areas where open defecation, defecation in hanging latrines, and other unsafe defecation practices are common.

Project Team:

The project was under the direction of PSI/PATH supported by a grant from USAID; Chief of Party Dana Ward. The ABMS local team project lead is Jules Hountondji and includes a micro-finance specialist, a business specialist, a sanitation engineer, and a monitoring, reporting, and evaluation specialist.

The team is also blessed with a number of great Peace Corp volunteers, including Ron Walters and Leng Yang.


Five EarthAuger toilets were flown into Cotonou; 3 pedestal and 2 squat. Two of each were installed, the fifth was kept for show to interested parties. (Another 15 were sent by ship to Accra, of which another 7 may be sent from there to Cotonou.)


We spent the first few days doing site recon and working the the carpenters to construct the housings. Then the plumbers and carpenters attended an assembly workshop, and assembled 4 toilets. In one day all four toilets were installed.

After the installation of the toilets in October 2015, participating households received training on the proper use of the model, and began using the toilets at the beginning of December 2015. Currently all households are still using their toilets, and we have received some great constructive feedback on improvements to make to newer models. In January 2016 during site visitations, we were vey happy to observe that the toilets are working well, with no noticeable odors or buildup of flies, despite a much larger number of users than the toilet was originally designed for.

Additionally, the local team presented the overall Sanitation Services Delivery project (of which the Earth Auger is an innovative toilet model being tested as a possible solution) to government members and other strategic partners in the Beninese sanitation sector, with the Earth Auger pilot figuring as an important component of the work completed by the team thus far.


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