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One eco-tech toilet: cause for celebration in this Moldovan village school

Ceremony heralds World Toilet Day

16.11.2011 | Press Release CWS icw WECF

HASNASENII MARI, Moldova – Wednesday, November 16, 2011 -- Kids attending school in the small, northern Moldova village of Hasnasenii Mari will be celebrating their school’s first toilet at a special ceremony this Friday (November 18) -- and the region’s first green-tech, eco-friendly toilet, at that.

The new urine diverting dry toilet (UDDT), or composting toilet, will be the first of its kind in northern Moldova – inaugurated a day before World Toilet Day. The device, which does not require water flushing, is being introduced in the community as a sustainable sanitation option to serve some 250 pupils at the school.
More of the composting toilets are planned for schools in the region and are seen as a hygienic and environmentally sound toilet solution in areas where centralized systems aren’t realistic,  They are part of a wider water and sanitation program being rolled out in Moldova by international humanitarian agency Church World Service, in cooperation with Women in Europe for a  Common Future (WECF).

A ceremony celebrating the school’s new installation Friday, November 18
Hasnasenii Mari village, Drochia district, Northern Moldova
1:30 PM local time
*** The event is open to media. Interviews at the site or via mobile phone with participants and spokespeople are available by arrangement. Translators available as needed.
Guests for the installation’s ceremony have come from as far away as Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois and Indiana in the U.S. The American visitors, who have been in Serbia and Moldova since last week [November 9], are staff members from several Church World Service regional offices in the U.S.
In Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, over 60 percent of school age children are at risk of falling ill due to bad sanitation conditions in schools.
 "Access to clean water is one of the main problems facing the population," Dr. Vitali Vorona, CWS regional representative for Europe, told his American colleagues.
 Vorona says almost all of the 900 villages in Moldova have serious problems in accessing clean drinking water and sanitation systems. In rural areas like Hasnasenii Mari, household latrines, not toilets, are the norm.
“It’s almost ironic,” said CWS’s Tom Hampson, of Elkhart, Indiana, “that, here in struggling Moldova, a modest little rural school with so few resources should be introducing sanitation facilities that are increasingly becoming a leading edge green technology choice in far more developed countries.
In the U.S., composting toilets are now finding their way beyond highway rest areas and state parks and into the bathrooms of more progressive, eco-thinking homeowners who want to live sustainably and off the grid.  Indeed, the school’s new “green” toilet is in company with some of the pricier, futuristic international eco-hotel offerings.
“Clean, sustainable water and sanitation resources are a key issue for Church World Service,” says Vorona. “And here in Moldova, it is a particularly vital concern.” Over 60% of school-age children in Moldova are at risk of falling ill due to bad sanitation conditions in schools.
Earlier this year, during World Water Week, CWS’s Vorona presented at the Chisinau March 22 conference “Implementation of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in Moldova,” which focused on the international Protocol on Water and Health. Vorona says that Moldova’s water supply and sewerage systems have degraded to the degree that “up to 45 percent of the population uses drinking water that does not comply with sanitary
Church World Service implements water and sanitation projects and supports food security, education, livelihoods training and human rights initiatives in both Moldova and Serbia, in collaboration with its network of local partner organizations.
Church World Service
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10115
(212) 870-2676

Anne Barre  /