Powertec Engineering’s CSR project with FIN

Championing Safe Sanitation!

Friend In Need Trust India or FIN is focused on highlighting the importance of universal safe sanitation standards in all parts of the world. Though people often think of the global challenge of lack of access to sanitation or a functioning toilet as having single and definite response, there is nothing so simple about the complex reality that we live in: solutions are often time and geography-dependent, as has been made clear by FIN’s explorations in Kameswaram, a coastal village in Tamil Nadu, India.

The campaign for universal sanitation has led to the diffusion of millions of pit latrines all across the developing world as the means to achieving a base level of hygiene. But, in coastal villages, the latrine-style single pit and double pit latrines have proven to be inefficient in protecting the population, if not counterproductive. Time and research have shown that these latrines can contribute to the contamination of groundwater sources, leading to a higher incidence of diarrhoeal diseases. This is because coastal villages are high water table areas, where faecal matter from pit latrines can leach into the ground water sources. The solution seemingly lies in another design innovation; a dry flush system which avoids the collateral of spread to groundwater sources, while providing organic compost made of human waste for agricultural use.








Thus, a central mission of FIN is to promote the usage of these dry flush toilets with urine diversion, commonly known as ecosan toilets (i.e. hygienic for the ecology and ultimately for humans) in coastal villages. While the construction of such eco-sanitary inventions is not new to Friend In Need (which has built over 300+ of these constructions), having it be accepted in coastal areas still remains a challenge. The ecosan toilets are not popular given the cultural context which prefers anal cleansing with water rather than with toilet paper as in much of South Asia, the Middle East, and much of Muslim Africa. Ecosan toilets also require more efforts for usage and maintenance. Therefore, many more ecosan toilets need to be adopted and its utility has to be demonstrated to the community in order for it to become a popular mainstream model.

In this regard, FIN is happy to announce a collaboration with Powertec Engineering. As part of its engagement to Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR, Powertec Engineering is sponsoring the installation of four ecosan toilets with bathrooms. Partnering with Powertec Engineering, furthers the experimentation of FIN on building low-cost climate resistant sanitation complexes with water harvesting installations.  

Powertec has the construction expertise which will help improve the quality of the ecosan design. Powertec has worked on a variety of much larger scale assessments including but not limited to biomass, desalination, and gas projects, and is the body giving the grant to FIN. On the other hand, FIN has been engaging with village communities to spread knowledge about sanitation, water and waste management. This CSR project will lead to 4 ecosan ambassadors who appreciate its advantages and create a bottom-up network of knowledge dissemination.

The project will additionally serve to upgrade the skills of local masons by creating opportunities for innovating the present ecosan designs, help FIN’s to improve its existing operation manuals for larger training and build advocacy to actively deconstruct the stigma around ecosan toilets. It is this kind of micro-intervention, not condescending takeovers, which will ultimately create opportunities for further positive change within the region.