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Piloting a disabled-friendly latrine shelter

iDE Cambodia participated in a workshop led by the Australian Engineers Without Borders’ Assistive Technology and Livelihoods Project. This workshop identified the limitations of iDE’s latrine shelters for disabled users and served as inspiration for WASH staff to design more accessible latrines.

In September 2015, iDE Cambodia constructed its first disabled-friendly latrine shelter. The shelter prototype was also the perfect opportunity to test a new construction technology for low-cost shelters called Interlocking Bricks. These bricks are compressed with high precision and resemble the shape of a Lego piece.

There are many advantages to using Interlocking Bricks.

• They are less expensive than using conventional bricks, mortar and plaster.

• They require less manpower.

• They can be assembled without skilled masons, reducing labor costs.

Interlock Shelter 280

This innovation also allows builders to construct a latrine shelter of any shape and size. Such flexibility is particularly attractive when constructing latrine shelters to meet the differing needs of disabled latrine users. While building this prototype, iDE gathered valuable feedback and sees an opportunity to iterate on its design and share learned lessons. Read the tactic report.


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Engaging Masons in Latrine Installation

LESSON LEARNED: Engaging masons through training on the new latrine design helped connect supply chain actors and ensured correct installation.

To reduce the time and cost of installation, the Easy Latrine was designed to be installed without hiring a mason. The development of the pre-cast concrete chamber box eliminated the need to hire skilled labor to construct a brick chamber box. However, households generally constructed the shelter along with the underground component, so they still preferred to hire a mason for installation. Because the project had removed the mason from the latrine purchasing experience, households who hired a mason to help with installation faced challenges. Masons either installed the latrine underground incorrectly, which meant customer dissatisfaction and a negative reputation for the product; or would ask households to exchange the chamber box for traditional bricks.

To ensure customer satisfaction and quality installation, the project trained masons on the main components of a latrine; how to install a latrine; and common shelter models. Masons were also introduced to local Latrine Business Owners to facilitate supply chain actor coordination.

Training sessions demonstrated value in educating masons on proper latrine installation; connecting masons with latrine businesses; and helping government become familiar with supply chain actors.

The mason trainings also developed relationships with masons that will be useful when the project’s latrine shelter is ready to go to market. To sustainably scale up mason engagement, the project explored engaging local government in the workshops. In several workshops, the project invited district officials to attend, which allowed them to better familiarize themselves with latrine supply chain actors and high quality installation procedures.