Pre-Implementation Perceptions Among Teachers on the Use of Ecological Sanitation and Application of Human Urine as Fertilizer

  •  Govinda Prasad Devkota    
  •  Sheri Lee Bastien    
  •  Petter D. Jenssen    
  •  Manoj K. Pandey    
  •  Bhimsen Devkota    
  •  Shyam Krishna Maharjan    


Although human urine contains nutrients for plant growth, very few community schools in Nepal use a urine diversion dry toilet (UDDT) and apply the human urine as fertilizer in their school garden. Using human urine in agriculture reduces the use of chemical fertilizers, thus saving the expenditure associated with it. Application of human urine improves the soil fertility and may contribute to increased food security among school children if the school can supply the canteen with food for mid-day meals. This study adopted a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach in order to understand stakeholder perspectives and involve them in the planning and implementation of urine diverting toilets. The data for this study were collected from five teachers’ focus group discussions. This paper presents teachers’ perceptions of the urine diversion dry toilet system and use of human urine as a fertilizer for the school garden. Only a few teachers accepted that human urine could be used as fertilizer, however, they were not willing to use it on their crops since it was considered impure. Due to a perceived bad odor and the uncomfortable sitting position on the UDDT, particularly for females, teachers disliked this toilet and they felt using urine as fertilizer was unnecessary. One of the key lessons drawn from the study is that schools, in collaboration with local governments, should employ participatory approaches to understanding and engaging local stakeholders, including teachers, to minimize negative perceptions prior to the application of human urine as fertilizer in the school garden.

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