Recycling Introducing the principle of the Swedish ”utedass”

One of the best win-win-solutions for people living on the margin of an austere nature is – manure.

For any well-fed Swede, the idea of gödsel (manure) as a most desired asset may sound farfetched – but this is how everything is linked:

1: Food in Nakamtenga comes directly from the earth. 2: But the soil is meagre and battered by a harsh climate and increasingly uncertain rains. 3: Many farmers traditionally do not raise cattle. 4: Farmers cannot afford herbicides and fertilizers. 5: While a Swedish farmer in general harvests 7 000 kg grains per hectare, families here never do better than 600 kg per hectare. 6: Nutrition and a healthy mix of food are hampered, often jeopardized.

Building toilets with good sanitation is an important part of The Good Village, the process of creating a good environment for all. And the benefit is not just less infections, better health and a private toilet but indeed also the manure. Roughly only 30% of families in the area have their own latrine – and mostly just with a big hole which cannot be emptied.

With the support from Max Burgers, Yennenga this winter has established a site for cultivation with secure irrigation in order to improve farming and educate locals, we call it a “school garden”. Activities also include building of new latrines at the village centre. With the principle of the classic Swedish “utedass”, which means that you can easily remove the barrel from behind and keep the toilet clean.

Nearby is a concrete construction, 3x4 meter, where a tractor disposes the content into 4 basins, one after the other, with a lid on top. When all 4 are filled, urine and excrement in the first basin will be decomposed into a manure to be used on the nearby farms.

With not least the worrying potential effects of climate change in the Sahel region, this type of natural recycling is likely to have a gradually important role.