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The ReSource Institute provided technical assistance to World Education, a Boston-based nonprofit, and the Yantai Development Consortium; partners in an environmental health project in Shandong Province. The goal of the three year project, started in 1994, was to create local capacities to identify pressing environmental problems and to propose and implement solutions which draw on local resources -- both human and material - in a timely and cost effective ways.

The Yantai Development Consortium (YDC) is a collaborative comprised of eleven educational institutions - primarily agricultural colleges -- in Yantai Municipality, Shandong Province, the Yantai Vocational Education Commission, other government sector agencies and sector bureaus in the Municipality. The YDC was set up in 1992 to address educational, social, and environmental issues in the municipality, which is undergoing rapid economic development. Funding for the project is from World Education, United Nations affiliated organizations, CICETE - the China-based Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges, participating schools, and other municipal authorities.

The project has been a resounding success, gauged by the YDCs enthusiastic support for the technology, the replication of the initial effort, and reports back from the agricultural colleges that participated in the 1994 workshop in Qixia.

ReSource currently has no plans to return to China. The challenges of working there stretch our small organization's resources too thin. But given China's headlong rush into terrifically bad development projects and enthusiastic embrace of some of the West's worse technologies (like sewerage), ReSource has reason to return. Four thousand years of healthy soil, largely resulting from the practice of returning nutrients to the land in the form of nightsoil (from latrines), is being turned on its head, with chemical inputs soaring, industrial development on arable land, and a shift in attitude about the benefits of nightsoil. The ReSource Composting Toilet could help reverse the trend.

Activities to date involving ReSource
ReSource's executive director received financial support and sponsorship to travel and work in China from the UNDP's Senior Technical Advisor Recruitment (STAR) program.

April 1994, participated in a five day workshop, with thirty participants, in Qixia County on environmental health. The following topics were addressed: integrated pest management (IPM), composting toilets, and development of an environmental sanitation curriculum for the schools in the YDC.

In April 1994, constructed the first ReSource composting toilet in China (photo), modeled after the Clivus Multrum composting toilet, at the Qixia agricultural college. The unit is functioning well. It was paid for by the school and is maintained by school personnel.

Several schools in the Consortium have requested technical assistance to build composting toilets for their students and faculty.

The Municipal Education Commission, in September, issued a policy statement requiring ReSource composting toilets in all new schools built in the municipality.

ReSource has been asked to write a manual on the construction of the composting toilet, its maintenance, and its fertilizers. World Education has offered to translate the material.

ReSource has been asked to contribute to the environmental health school curriculum on sanitation.

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Last updated: 17-May-2007
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