As a project partner of the Rapid Planning project, RECOR implements various actions to improve schoolyard conditions and environmental sustainability at the Biryogo Primary School in Kigali. Rapid Planning is a project approach conducted by various German universities and institutes like TU Berlin or IFEU Institute to develop a rapid trans-sectoral urban planning methodology with a focus on urban basic services infrastructure, specifically targeting supply and disposal infrastructure. The project period is from February 2016 to June 2016, including feasibility studies, planning of actions, testing prototypes, implementing, monitoring, documentation and upscaling concepts.
The overall approach of the Rapid Planning projects is to provide the right tools and the necessary capacity to establish sustainable and resource efficient infrastructure in rapidly growing cities around the world. As Kigali has growth rates of 4,5 % p.a. combined with a high population density within the city it is an ideal candidate for such an approach.
RECOR is involved in planning, establishing and monitoring hand wash stations, waste water treatment boxes and soil erosion control at Biryogo Primary School.
Hand wash stations represent an innovative, yet simple solution for regions without running water and/or scare water availability due to climate, costs or lack of adequate sanitation.
No hand washing and poor water qualities cause the spread of diarrhoeal disease and acute respiratory infections, like Pneumonia. According to WHO, each year diarrhoea kills around 760 000 children under five worldwide (2013). In 2015 Pneumonia accounted for 15% of all deaths of children under 5 years old, killing an estimated 922 000 children. Handwashing with soap has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of respiratory infections by 21% and diarrhoea by 48%.
Hand wash stations are therefore promoted worldwide and appear it many different designs and technologies. Providing students and teachers with easy-to-use hand wash stations decreases the number of infections at school causing fewer days of absence and better teaching. The resulting greywater will be channelled into a waste water treatment box, recycling the water.
concept of hand wash stations at Biryogo primary school
As previous examples have shown, waste water treatment boxes are capable to clean greywater originating from bathroom, laundry, kitchen and contains laundry detergents, soap, fats, oils, other particles as well as bacteria, parasites and viruses washed from the body and clothes. The so cleaned greywater can be used again for irrigation or can be safely discharged into environment. Vetiver grass (Chrysopogon zizanioides) is used as filtration and purifying agent for the wastewater treatment boxes. Vetiver grass absorbs nitrates, phosphates and heavy metals from the wastewater. The boxes installed at Biryogo Primary School consist of three main components:
• Collection and primary filtration by a sieve catching rise size particles
• Sedimentation and floatation in a first container acting as grease tap and sedimentation trap for unsolved particles
• Biofilter using plants and micro-organisms to remove nutrients, harmful bacteria and other chemicals.
Concept of waste water treatment boxes
The filter consists of gravel, sand and Vetiver grass planted on top
The system is modular and upgradable in case the amount of greywater increases for a household. The recycling of greywater will reduce water consumption due to reuse as well as protect the environment from pollution by grease, soap and eutrophication.
The third part of the project is soil erosion control at the school to prevent it from recurring flooding of the schoolyard. This will be achieved by planting Vetiver grass hedges and tranches which increase the water infiltration and divert excess water to protect drainage ways and thereby reduce surface runoff and soil erosion.
Vetiver grass hedges planted along the contour of the hill represent a sustainable, effective, low-cost and low-tech option to conserve soil and moisture. Planted in the right way, Vetiver grass hedges form a natural terrace over time, acting as an effective barrier that will remain active for decades.
11 Vetiver grass hedges are planted next to the walking paths on the high slope hill in Biryogo School. In addition, the pathways are improved by putting tyre steps in place. This reduces the water speed and the quantity of water damaging the walkways.
recently planted Vetiver grass hedges, improved pathways
To guarantee steady maintenance and raise awareness of the established measures, workshops held by RECOR and the partners are performed. This helps the involved teachers and students to understand and appreciate the actions and enables them to implement such actions on their own. These workshops lay the foundation for greater concern over environmental issues for both students and teachers.