Category: Agome Toilet Construction

An Amazing Week in the Alavanyo Villages

First in Alavanyo Wudidi Library

In Alavanyo Wudidi the carpenter Eric Nyarku, his son Prosper and his apprentice Kwame Amewu have been putting the finishing touches to the tables. They are making carrels so that people studying do not disturb each other and in the current pandemic climate they help prevent the spread of the virus. As you can see they have made the tables and dividers from scratch. No going to the furniture store and just buying some imported item. So now the library is almost ready for the books from Book Aid International which are being shipped at the moment.

To hear this paragraph please click here

Marking out the table
Building the frame
Frame finished
Marking out the locally produced plywood
Fitting the dividing board
Finished carrels

Thank you very much Eric, Prosper and Kwame for your work.

And in Alavanyo Agome working on the Community Toilet

The community have been working really hard to get the concrete slab with the squatting holes cast before the rain and termites destroy the wooden shuttering. As you can see there has been a really good turnout. Everyone no matter their status in the community get involved and The Chief of the Youth Sohafia in his red T shirt was as busy as anyone mixing the concrete. Soon we can start on the cubicles and roof. Thank you everyone at Alavanyo Agome and thank you to everyone who has donated. BUT we still need more to complete all of the projects so if you can please donate.

Preparing the mixture
Sohafia, the Chief of the Youth organisation, mixing the concrete
Finished slab and squatting holes


Wonderful Marathon Runners raise funds for Community projects. Thank you!

David and Kate at the start
And again at the end of 13.1 gruelling miles

Just how do you thank these wonderful people for training and then running the Oxford Half Marathon. The distance 13.1 miles, thats just over 21 km in 2 hours 15 minutes and 2 hours 22 minutes. Akpe kakaka (Ewe language for thank you totally)

At 6 miles (10 Km)

Kate at 8 miles (13Km)
Still smiling

David at 8 miles (13Km)
Still happy

They have raised over £800 and when you add on the gift aid this will be about £1,000.
This amount can go a long way towards helping communities build a toilet block, renovate a library or even go towards putting in a borehole to provide clean drinking water.
For example the money raised could go a long way to building the superstructure on the toilet and roof it.
How worthwhile is that.

The funds raised could convert this
to this…
Foli John and Michael Deh who are working on the Alavanyo Agome Toilet say Akpe bor oo (A very big thankyou)

If you’ve been inspired by David & Kate’s fundraising and would like to run the Oxford Half Marathon 2022 or any other fundraising initiative please get in touch


Work started again but then Rain Stopped Play

It’s been a while since the community of Alavanyo Agome have been able to work on their communal toilet block. But after purchasing all of the planking and having it delivered work can once again get started. There needs to be a cast concrete floor over the half of the septic tank to fit the squatting plate or situpon toilet. The first step is to fix shuttering to hold the poured concrete.

The carpenters have arrived to fix the shuttering on the septic tanks. This will allow Clemence to cast the very strong slabs in the cubicles. But just as they had the initial planking fitted the heavens opened and they were rained off.

Bringing the planking form the wood store.
All by hand, and head.
The first to be fitted
Accuracy is vital. No one wants to fall in.
Everything needs to be just so.
Then the heavens opened


Alavanyo Agome Toilet block progress

After a short break the community is working on the toilet block again. We were wondering why they were progressing so slowly. We found out that the community work day was being used to improve facilities in the primary school and sadly attend funerals of prominent members of the community.

The organisation of the community work is impressive and as everyone does their bit it is recorded. One of our final tasks is to give all of the participants a certificate of appreciation for their work. These records of the participants allow us to do this.


How to build a sustainable toilet.

Part one The Holding Tank

The Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pit latrine (KVIP) and is the epitome of sustainability. No water, and a lifespan of at least 20 years without any maintenance except cleaning of the cubicles. This is the type of sustainable toilet we have built in Tafi Atome, Alavanyo Dzogbedze and now are building in Alavanyo Agome.
The most important part is the Pit or the holding tanks. All of the toilet deposits go into these tanks.
They are designed to be very well ventilated so no, or little, smell goes back up into the cubicles. Any flies that follow their noses onto the poo are cunningly trapped in the tank until they die. If the flys could escape they would carry germs on their legs and bodies. They can’t excape so this stops them spreading diseases.
Each tank is designed to hold about ten years, YES TEN YEARS, worth of deposits! Then the second toilet in each cubicle is opened up to start filling the neighbouring holding tank. After about 20 years the contents of the first tank have thoroughly composted killing any pathogens. This holding tank is then emptied and the process starts again. The tanks need to be very strong to survive these many years of use.

Cross section of KVIP showing how it traps flys


How to turn the Pit into the holding tanks

The people of Alavanyo Agome have now started to line the pit that will form the base of the community latrine. Ladies carry water from a supply 200m away and sand from a stockpile 400m away. Using the smashed up rocks excavated from the pit, sand, cement and water the men mix the concrete by hand. Masons supplied by the village development committee then get to work. The first task is to get a level base. Getting this correct is vital for the strength of the whole construction. Because they are working directly on bed rock they do not need to dig foundations. The cement blocks that were made last year have cured and are really strong, but heavy!

All of this labour is provided by the village as their contribution to their community toilet.

Sand and water being carried to the site
It’s always amazing to watch the accuracy of pouring the water into the drum

This sand seems to be defying gravity.

Concrete mixing by hand. Hard work.
The blocks made last year are now going to make the walls of the holding tanks.
Getting the level correct


The huge Pit – finally Conquered

Digging the pit for the toilet block had ground to a halt because the soil was too compacted.
As they dug deeper the volunteers came to a layer of rock.
Pick axes made absolutely no impression despite the strength and commitment of the workers.
Drastic actions were called for.

Extreme force arrived

And started work

The excavator worked all day long and into the night until finally the pit was ready.

Day digging

Night digging

This is what the finished pit looks like.
Nothing will be wasted, this heap of broken up rocks will be used for the concrete bases.
As in Alavanyo Dzogbedze, the larger rocks will be smashed up by hand to make the gravel.

A one hundred tonne hole

And rocks ready to be broken up and used in the concrete

The next stage of the project will be to line the pit using the blocks made earlier and put on the superstructure.
Clemence is discussing this next part of the project with the village volunteer masons.

Watch this space.


Digging the Pit Continues

For the last couple of weeks the community volunteers have been working on a water project for the village. But now they are back on the toilet block project. We really need to congratulate the workers who are still digging out the pit. When finished it will be 40′ by 10′ by 8′ deep (12m x 3m x 2.5m). That is about 100 tonnes of soil that needs digging out and as you can see it needs pickaxes to soften the laterite (the reddish iron and aluminium rich soil) .

Pickaxes hard at work
Only about 5′ (1.5m) to go!


The Pit

The hard work begins.

The pit for the pit latrine is measured out.
Here is Clemence Kitsi, Project Manager, carefully marking out the dimensions from the plans drawn up by the Kumasi Institute of Technology.



Accuracy needed

Then the ground breaking and back breaking work begins. Here are volunteers digging the pits.

The start is hard.
The really hard work starts.