Why I’m not the right person to solve your problems: an engineer in sanitation

I sat in a meeting recently about sanitation prototypes that are being tested in the "real world" - the informal settlements and rural households that they have been designed for, rather than the labs where they were created. As with any early stage testing, the prototypes have problems and it was these problems and the potential solutions that were under discussion at the meeting. While listening to these challenges, it hit me. As an engineer, I am not the right person to solve sanitation problems. Of course, there are some technical problems with the prototypes - materials that foul in a different way than expected causing downstream problems, control sequences that need adapting to deal with different circumstances - but it is the non-technical challenges that really interested me. Some…
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