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How to Build a Pit Latrine

Just a Drop has built latrines all over the world. Here's a step-by-step guide to the process, taken from one of our projects in Zambia.

& here's the technical bit about how VIP latrines work.

17. The pupils of Kinnertone School are led out to view the completed latrines and are told which are for staff use, and which for boys and girls.

16. Mike, the builder, plasters the outside wall of the fourth and final double latrine to be constructed.

15. Painting has been completed on the first three latrines.

14. Without the involvement of African Revival and a donation from The Holy Trinity Church in south Wimbledon, these latrines would not have been built...

13. You can see here the 2 old crumbling latrines on the right, next to the new ones under construction - what a difference!

12. Here you can see the 4 latrines in their various stages of construction, from superstructure (far right) to simple pit (far left).

11. Just weeks after work began, the first of the latrines has begun to resemble a latrine block!

10. Cement is poured over the sheeting to make a slab. The cement slab - which has holes for the long-drops and ventilation pipes - must be watered for several days to prevent it from drying too quickly and cracking.

9. The wood and wire are then covered with plastic sheeting, or old cement bags as are being used here.

8. To make the concrete slab on which the main part of the latrine will stand, a wooden mould is created around the two pits and they are covered with wire and lengths of wood.

7. The brick structure is split into two with another wall down the middle, effectively making two latrine pits side-by-side.

6. The pit foundations are continued until they are level with the surrounding ground.

5. The builder begins by building up a rectangular brick structure within the pit, slightly away from the pit walls.

4. Each pit must be 3m x 2m x 3m and the sides must be kept very straight to minimise the risk of subsidence.

3. Members of the local community helped to dig the four large pits for the new latrines, with individuals taking it in turns to provide labour each day.

2. Up until early 2011, Kinnertone School had only two latrines serving 130 pupils and several staff. One of the latrines was not even in use as the roof had collapsed making it unsafe and affording no privacy.

1. The one remaining serviceable latrine at Kinnertone Community School.