A regular partner of the Veolia Foundation, Solidarités International (SI) is involved in many areas of conflict and natural disaster. Its mission is to provide the quickest and most effective help to people whose lives are threatened, by covering their vital needs: food, water and shelter. For this reason, SI is particularly active in the field of access to drinking water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH), the Foundation's areas of expertise.
The management of latrine sludge: a major issue
There have never been so many refugees in the world. Data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shows this regularly. years. The gradual increase has accelerated dramatically since 2005. That year, there were 19.4 million refugees in the world. At the beginning of 2015, there were 52.9 million.
As a corollary to the explosion in the number of refugees, the number of refugee camps has multiplied to cope with the influx of people. These camps can be very large, like Dadaab (over 380,000 people) in Kenya. They can be found on every continent, and emerge in response to crises (Rohingya in Bangladesh, Burundian refugees in Uganda, Iraqis fleeing Daesh in Kurdistan).
These refugee camps concentrate many difficulties and represent major challenges in terms of infrastructure. The management of latrine sludge, in particular, represents a major problem in terms of the costs borne by the organisations responsible for managing the camps, the acceptance of the refugee communities in the host areas, and the transmission of disease.
Faced with this humanitarian context, the Veolia Foundation is working with a number of players to devise, test and evaluate the best solutions.
Demonstrating the impact of micro-organisms in reducing sludge volumes
The expertise of the Veolia Foundation has been called upon to monitor the installation of encapsulated micro-organisms in the latrines of a camp on a site managed by Solidarités International in Lebanon. The aim of this project is to demonstrate the impact of these micro-organisms on reducing the volume of sludge to be managed in these latrines. It is being carried out in collaboration with TUFTS University (Boston), which is leading the associated research programme.
In practical terms, the Foundation's financial support will enable a certified laboratory in Lebanon to carry out chemical analyses of latrine sludge that has been in contact with bio-additives. These analyses will be used to assess the performance of the system. The analytical challenge is therefore of major importance to the success of the project and the explanation of its results.