Newton Fund Award

Amb. (Dr.) Amina Mohamed, EGH, CAV, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education presents an Award to Ms. Joy Riungu from Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST). Ms. Riungu receives the award on behalf of Newton-Utafiti project team members; Mr. Domenic S. Kiogora, Dr. Sarah Wandili, Mr. George Njeru and Dr. Guyo Huka. The project, ‘’Paradigm Shift in Feacal Sludge Management for Food Security and Environmental Management’’ is a collaborative research between Meru University of Science and Technology, Kenya and Aston University, UK.

Effective and sustainable feacal sludge management poses a huge sanitation challenge in developing countries. It is exacerbated by high population growth rate and social cultural perceptions surrounding human feacal sludge handling. The social cultural perceptions have relegated feacal sludge handling to a passive exercise whose end point is to get the waste from the immediate vicinity with no follow up on its subsequent end point. On the other hand, proper feacal waste management is an indicator of societal development that portends health and environmental benefits. While the stigma associated with human waste is borne from the potential health risk, not handling it poses a definite health hazard to the population. In Kenya, attempts at feacal sludge disposal have mainly focused on onsite sanitation. With low investment in research and technological interventions the feacal matter from these facilities finds its way to the environment with no defined treatment, posing huge challenge on human health. In addition, use of pit latrines results in the potentially useful product, which can otherwise be applied to secure food security being taken out of the available matter cycle.

This calls for a paradigm shift in the perception on human feacal material from waste to resource; paving way for adequate research and technological investment on FSM. Meru University of Science and Technology has established a multidisciplinary feacal sludge management unit, where cost effective innovative technologies are being developed by a team of experts drawn from various schools. MUST is initiating development of inbuilt-self-sustaining human waste management system that converts the wastes into commercially viable products through ecologically and environmentally friendly interventions supported by innovative research and technology.