Knowledge, attitudes and practices on use of Fossa Alternas and double vault urine diverting dry (DVUDD) latrines in Malawi

Save Kumwenda, Chisomo Msefula, Wilfred Kadewa, Bagrey Ngwira, Tracy Morse

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Fossa Alternas and Double Vault Urine Diverting Dry (DVUDD) latrines have been extensively promoted as ecological sanitation (EcoSan) latrine options in Malawi but little is known about whether they are used properly. A qualitative study of EcoSan users was conducted in the Blantyre and Chikwawa districts, Malawi. Data was collected using in-depth interviews (IDI) and observations. Twenty-eight (28) IDIs were conducted with household heads who had Fossa Alternas and 17 who had DVUDD latrines. Recorded data was transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Of the total 45 EcoSan users, only one had no knowledge about how EcoSan latrines operate, 4 had low while 40 had moderate to high knowledge on how the latrines are used. The negative attitudes about EcoSan use were related to problems of reported blockages of urine diversion systems and the intensive management and maintenance needed for the latrines. Practices included the use of soil, ash, urine diverting, using hot water and chemicals to kill maggots, urinating in the drop-hole of the DVUDD latrine and poor maintenance of roof. It is therefore recommended that government, through water monitoring assistants and health surveillance assistants to periodically monitor the practices on EcoSan latrines use and provide necessary support to users.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Sep 2016


  • ecological sanitation
  • Malawi
  • practices
  • double vault urine diverting dry latrine
  • Fossa Alterna
  • EcoSan
  • in-depth interviews
  • blockages
  • maintenance
  • urine
  • toilet

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