Situated in a small community off the main road to Gunjur in Gambia, the management at Footsteps Ecolodge make every effort to reduce their ecological footprint where they can. The lodge was created in 2002 and has been running ever since providing nature holidays led by locals, despite damage caused by a brush fire in February 2007. Provided here is a brief overview of the various technologies, systems, and perspectives that are continuously unfolding at Footsteps.
Features[edit | edit source]
Composting Toilets[edit | edit source]
Each hut (where guests stay) has a composting toilet, whose base is concrete and with a depth of one meter. Each toilet consists of two compartments, so when one is full, the toilet seat is switched to the other compartment. As with most compost toilets, sawdust is used. This helps to ease the use of water. Within about a month the compost is done and ready to use in the garden.
Greywater[edit | edit source]
Each hut has a greywater system, where water used in the sink is directed out to plants planted around the exterior of the hut.
Solar[edit | edit source]
All the power available at Footsteps Ecolodge is provided by solar. There are 45 panels on the roof and 4 panels that power the pump for the pool. A solar freezer and fridge also run off the energy system. They have a charging facility where guests can charge mobile phones and other gadgets.
Wetland Filtration[edit | edit source]
At the center of the lodge is a cute pool that, at first glance, you wouldn't notice the multifaceted system it participates in. In order to be filled with fresh water -no chlorine, connected to the pool is an aesthetically pleasingly designed wetland system that filters the water for the pool.
Waste Management[edit | edit source]
The lodge has a waste management system where they separate all trash into compostable, recyclable, and other categories. This is an important feature in a place where waste management is often left to the people to decide.
Organic Gardening[edit | edit source]
The organic garden is an ongoing project with periods of bounty and periods of fallow. The poultry farm is a new project at the time of writing, starting off with 2 chickens and hopes of eventually being more self-sustained in food production for the kitchen and /or staff
Community[edit | edit source]
Footsteps Ecolodge makes it a point to integrate into the local community. The staff members are local, the lodge provides economic opportunities to local artists who sell their goods and products, and also offer workshops to guests who are interested. The lodge does not take a percentage of transactions with the artists.
The lodge has made efforts to educate the local community on appropriate technologies, such as composting toilets. The water in the village has become undrinkable due to contamination by pit latrines. Habits are hard to change, and it is a cultural habit here to use water when using the toilet. Despite the efforts made, compost toilets and sawdust are yet to be part of the local communities lifestyle. However, with this common challenge of disseminating technology, the lodge takes the approach of hosting local school children who come to the lodge to see firsthand and learn about the various technologies and sustainable practices there.
The main environmental problems and hazards of their area are brush fires. This is especially true at the beginning of the rainy season when many people begin to clear land (by fire) for planting.
Read how Footsteps started.