Making change – the power of a small team

Combine some skilled visiting plumbers, local support from Sticky Situations and the Diepsloot based WASSUP team and you have change for the better in a tough part of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Thanks to the WorldSkills Foundation and IAPMO, two highly skilled plumbers, Alex and Jed, worked along side the WASSUP team for the 2015 upgrade works on toilets, water supply and drainage systems in Diepsloot. Jennifer from Sticky Situations set the scene brilliantly as ever with local logistics and support.

A further 26 toilets/water/waste points were upgraded during this visit.

This may sound insignificant until you consider the local survey work done by WASSUP and Sticky Situations with help from Anne Fitchett and students at Wits University. This showed the number of shacks and people reliant on the basic facilities that need to function to provide the most basic health infrastructure for health.

The image below shows the groups of people (yellow boundaries) sharing the toilet/water and drainage points (small yellow squares). At the start of the upgrade session, overall 775 people were sharing 3 working toilets, water supply points and drains (out of 10 available). By the end of the upgrade session all 10 facilities were working.

Pp Edit 2015 05 07 Map Site A R

Think about the impact of this change. The crowding level on each toilet (or water point or drain) to begin was over 250 people per unit. Given the facilities are rarely used during the night time hours, this means access for 250 people over a 12 hour period or over 20 people per hour.

After upgrading, these numbers using the 10 now functioning facilities  fell to 75 people per unit or only slightly more than 6 people per hour. By reducing leaks in all parts of the system, water savings of around 4,000 litres per toilet per day remain constant.

More works are planned (see below) and the changes will improve access to essential facilities and the associated health benefits. What’s needed now … 100s of teams like WASSUP and Sticky Situations and a small budget to upgrade and maintain thousands of facilities. 

Current 2015 05 10 Full Map Interactive A4 Work Sites Only Copy