Toilets with Dignity: the WASSUP Diepsloot model Johannesburg, South Africa

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Since 2009, WASSUP Diepsloot (Water, Amenities, Sanitation Services, Upgrading Program), a dedicated community-based organization, and Sticky Situations, a Johannesburg based organization, has worked to improve water and sanitation services in the densely populated Extension 1 in Diepsloot township. Located near one of the wealthiest gated communities, Diepsloot is almost midpoint between Johannesburg and Pretoria. With high levels of under and unemployment amongst South Africans and immigrants, the 2011 Census count of 138,000 may have doubled, which further exacerbates public health challenges.

For over ten years, WASSUP, which grew out of the 2007-09 work of Global Studio, has been repairing and maintaining communal toilet facilities in Extension 1. Working at times with international partners, the co-operative has not only developed a sustainable and accountable repair and maintenance model, it has also developed a water tracking system that has helped to generate important data around water use. Extension 1, for example has been losing 1 billion liters of water per year, a loss which costs the City of Johannesburg US$1.3 million per annum; a US$85,000 investment would fix the problem and stop the water loss. WASSUP’s methodology is easy to adopt and could be scaled up to apply to failing City infrastructure in other townships. WASSUP trains and employs local residents, who also work towards plumbing qualifications. WASSUP lobbies government. To date, the demand for toilets with dignity in Diepsloot - one facility (a working flush toilet, clean running water, a tap and a drain) for every 39 households- has been hard to achieve.

CATEGORY: Civil Society SETTING: Urban STATUS: On-going

BY: WASSUP Diepsloot

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: WASSUP Diepsloot engages with fellow residents on a daily basis through formal and informal processes. They work with DACN, the local arts and culture group, through music and street theater; they have engaged in public space interventions. WASSUP also interacts constructively with external organizations including national and international plumbing communities, academics, students, businesses, and local government.

PARTNERS: WASSUP Diepsloot • Sticky Situations • Australian Aid • IAPMO, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials • Plumblink Proudly Bidvest • IOPSA, Institute of Plumbing South Africa • Wot-if Trust • IWSH Foundation • BoombadotMobi • Bontle ke Thlago • Johannesburg Water • Rabie Ridge Community Plumbers; Healthabitat.




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