object from the ‘In a crisis’ case within MoDiP’s current exhibition,
Endurance, is the rather plain looking latrine slab. Easily overlooked, it is actually
a very important structural design solution to the problem of providing toilet
facilities for the humanitarian sector.
AIBDC : 009124
Image credit: MoDiP
Designed by Oxfam's WASH (Water,
Sanitation and Hygiene) team, circa 2000, in collaboration with manufacturing
partner K.K. Nag Pvt. Ltd, in India, this self-supporting latrine slab was
considered to be revolutionary at the time and has subsequently been adopted by
aid agencies across the world.
2005 image of the
latrine slab in use.
Image credit: https://www.oxfamwash.org/en/sanitation/excreta-disposal/EXCRETA%20DISPOSAL%20in%20Emergencies%20Manual%20-%202021-min.pdf
MoDiP’s example is manufactured by Dunster House
(Bedford, UK), Oxfam’s current official supplier. It is rotationally
moulded in high density polyethylene (HDPE), thin and lightweight to allow for
efficient stacking in order to reduce shipping costs and ease user handling. It
is also very tough and strong, reinforced so that it can be placed over a
trench or pit without the need for additional support from below.
Efficient stacking and lightweight.
It has a key-hole shaped lid with a
small lip that can be opened and closed with the foot, ensuring minimal
contact, engraved with a 'Wash your hands' symbol to promote good hygiene.
Moulded detail on the key-hole lid.
Image credit: MoDiP
There are raised, non-slip foot
plates to keep the user elevated from draining fluids and the material is less
permeable to chemicals and moisture with an easy-clean, low maintenance finish.
Ready to use, it is easy to install and can be adapted to incorporate a pour
flush if sufficient quantities of local water are available.
superstructures need to consider both local materials and cultural preferences.
Image credit: https://wedc-knowledge.lboro.ac.uk/resources/
Intended as a temporary toilet
during the first phase of an emergency, to be housed within a superstructure
for privacy, security and dignity (refer image above), one slab is recommended
per 50 people, gradually reducing to 20 people per latrine over time.
Endurance is on display in the
museum until 10th March 2023.