WASE: Improving Sanitation In Rural India

Meet one of our #VarsityPitch2018 Winner — Thomas Fudge, Founder of WASE.

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We were recently invited to go on a research expedition to rural parts of India with a local NGO called SHRI (Sanitation & Health Rights India). SHRI is an organisation that is doing fantastic work building community toilet blocks for rural communities, changing the lives of thousands of people every day. One thing that sets SHRI apart from most organisations is their community focus. Whilst we were there they were researching willingness to pay for purified drinking water, barriers to household sanitation and female menstruation.

They asked us to come to see the sites which use an anaerobic bio digester to treat wastewater. Since their installation, the number of daily users have risen far above the site’s capacity and SHRI are looking to install our EMR technology to reduce the treatment time, increase biogas production and enable the treated wastewater to be reused for irrigation.

During the trip we assessed these sites and carried out community focus groups, interviewing the locals to gauge the social acceptability of water and biogas reuse. Engaging with the community was one of the most important aspects of the trip to make sure we address any concerns and involve the community at the earliest stage of the system development. This will allow us to adapt and develop our system so that it will have the greatest possible impact in this environment, improving the lives of the people in these communities.

“44 per cent of the total population in India still defecate in the open” — WaterAid India

Currently, the wastewater is being removed monthly, resulting in a high overhead cost. Our system can easily remedy this, and also utilise the valuable resources within the wastewater by producing a fertiliser that local farmers can use to boost crop production.

Introducing our system to these facilities would allow the generation of greater quantities of methane, this could then be used by the community as a fuel, with cooking being one of many applications.

Our research interviews and focus groups orchestrated in Bihar helped discover a wide opportunity of farmers that would happily use this resource. These discussions have provided a stepping stone to our next step of creating a working product that will work alongside the current instalments.

WASE and SHRI are happy to be working collaboratively in the future to spread sustainable WASH solutions to rural India, with a specific focus of WASE looking to spread the sustainable solutions across the globe.

Working with these communities was extremely insightful and the hospitality offered by SHRI and the local community gave us a great insight into rural India and what the people have offer. We are excited to see this project through to the end.” — Thomas Fudge

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