As the end of the ISSRAR inception phase is approaching and as main concept ideas as well as potential sanitation solutions have been identified, the project is now looking deeper into the various technical alternatives, considering realities on a household level. In this regard and in coordination with the Azraq Municipality, 14 youth representatives were identified to conduct detailed household surveys to support the design study of the sewer system component. In preparation of the survey, an international expert was invited to give a two-day training to these young people. They applied the newly learnt knowledge during the 12-day survey under the supervision of BORDA staff.
More specifically, the training presented and compared the vacuum sewer technology and the conventional sewer system. Second, the participants were trained in conducting household surveys via the mobile app CommCare. Third, the participants were introduced to understanding the environment in which they conduct the survey through learning how to read Google Earth maps and AutoCAD drawings as well as drawing sketches of the household connections.
During the 12-day survey, the students were going around to gather information about the household pipe connections, including length, condition (functional or not), manholes, number of houses connected to one septic tank, and the septic tank desludging frequency and condition (leaking, functional or out of service).
Having the youth involved is key to the project sustainability, as they are the future generation that will benefit from the implemented system. Working with environmental students in particular is an added value because they understand fully the project framework and objectives. From a community perspective, it is significant that they are from Azraq and have the energy to drive behavioural change and the willingness to alternative solutions based on enhanced re-use.
One of the participants, Qais Ata (22 years old) who studies at The Hashemite University in Earth and Environmental Sciences, explained that when he heard BORDA was in Azraq to address local environmental concerns, he was thrilled. Indeed, he has specifically studied in this field. During the training and the onsite survey, he got to put into practice the technical knowledge learnt in school and shared his excitement with our team: “ISSRAR initiative gave us the opportunity to approach our municipality from a social perspective, to discuss with our neighbours about the current sanitation at Azraq. I believe the sewer network will be a big improvement to our direct surroundings and I cannot wait for the next ISSRAR phase to happen”. Sabreen Al Saher (26 years old), a student in Water and Environmental Management, added “this project will not only reduce risk of environmental contamination by the wastewater, but it will create job opportunities for Azraq inhabitants like us, young environmental studies graduates.”
All participants did a great job: not only they are an incredible support to the success of the project but they are constantly engaged and motivated. BORDA highly appreciated seeing such enthusiasm for collaboration in developing solutions for the Azraq municipality. Most of the participants have studied in environmental fields such as soil and water management, geography, and civil engineering. Local continuous support and participation will enrich the ISSRAR project, and the ISSRAR team will keep exploring ways to strengthen local ownership and inclusion in the project’s main phase.
ISSRAR initiative gave us the opportunity to approach our municipality from a social perspective, to discuss with our neighbours about the current sanitation at Azraq. I believe the sewer network will be a big improvement to our direct surroundings and I cannot wait for the next ISSRAR phase to happen.
In coordination with the Azraq Municipality and supervised by BORDA staff, 14 youth representatives received training and conducted household surveys to support the design study of the ISSRAR project’s sewer system component