Laboratory Aspects

Sharing of expertise

by Susan Mercer | Jul 15, 2016
 Merlien & Colleen with CSE team at Pollution Monitoring Lab in Delhi
  One of the aims of the Capacity Grant is for the PRG to share their expertise in the handling and analysis of faecal sludge with other sanitation practitioners. A number of visits have taken place during 2015 and 2016.

April 2015: In April the laboratory manager (Merlien) travelled to Nairobi (Kenya) to assist another BMGF grantee in improving their laboratory facilities, upgrading their health and safety aspects, and to provide training in laboratory analyses and standard operating procedures. This trip was a resounding success with both parties learning from one another. An interview held with Merlien at Sanergy can be viewed at

July 2015: Based on the success of the training at Sanergy, Merlien was invited to Thailand to the Asian Institute of Technology in order to assess their current laboratory facilities and analyses and to make suggestions for improvement.
October 2015: In addition to traveling to other institutions, the PRG welcomes organisations to the PRG laboratory at UKZN to undertake training. In October 2015, post graduates from the University of Botswana travelled to Durban with sludge from pit latrines in Botswana in order to be trained in undertaking analyses.

November and December 2015: Merlien and Colleen Archer (our consulting parasitologist) travelled to India in the latter part of 2015 in order to train various laboratory technicians in FS characterisation and techniques for the analysis of pathogens. Input into the design of new laboratory facilities was also provided. Visits were made to the Centre for Science and Environment (Delhi), Consortium for DEWATS Dissemination (Bangalore), Indian Institute of Technology (Madras) and Research Triangle International (Coimbatore).
January 2016: At the beginning of 2016, Merlien and Thabiso (laboratory technician) were invited to the University of Dar es Salaam to assist with the commissioning of laboratory equipment, provide training in faecal sludge analysis and to identify further options for improving the laboratory. Discussions were also held with laboratory staff regarding health and safety and SOPs. An inspection of the laboratory was undertaken and tasks assigned to the various laboratory technicians.

March 2016: Our team of two (Merlien and Thabiso) also spent time in Malawi at Mzuzu University and The University of Malawi to assist them in faecal sludge analysis techniques.