Lessons Learned


After building the greywater channel in J-section, the greywater team returned a couple of days later to find that the channel was already being clogged by trash and sand. The buildup posed a significant problem. It partially obstructed the flow of greywater, causing pooling in some areas. This almost immediate occurrence demonstrated the critical need to maintain and clean out greywater channels properly. Accordingly, the co-researchers held a meeting with J-section community members living near the channel in which they discussed the need for community involvement in order to maintain the channel. Through a series of meetings between the co-researchers and J-section community members, as well as meetings among the J-section community members themselves, a consensus on the need for regular cleaning was reached, and a system of regular cleaning was instituted.

Volunteerism vs. Employment

While the greywater team’s initial efforts towards greywater management throughout Langrug had focused predominately on mobilizing the community and convincing people to volunteer their time, a couple of days into the construction of the I-section channel we found that the government, CORC, and the community leadership had organised a system of EPWP payment for the people working on the J-section channel. In light of the extremely high unemployment rate in Langrug, it is incredibly exciting that the community members can be paid for their work. However, this concept of money as motivation for their work has raised a couple of concerns from our team.

The main concern with using paid jobs to motivate the community stems from the fear that it will set a precedent for greywater upgrading work. If people expect that they will be paid whenever they work with the greywater team to implement a greywater intervention, then in the event that the government and associated NGO’s are no longer able to pay the community, it’s inevitable that willingness to participate in greywater upgrading will drop significantly. The co-researchers expressed their belief that, now that the community has been introduced to the idea of being paid for their efforts, people will no longer be willing to volunteer their time without compensation.