Improved Sanitation and Its Impact on Children: An Exploration of Sanergy

Improved Sanitation and Its Impact on Children: An Exploration of Sanergy. Impact Case Study No. 2, 2013.

Esper, H., London, T., and Kanchwala, Y. The William Davidson Institute.

We explore the impacts that Sanergy, a venture providing sanitation facilities and franchising opportunities to the BoP, has on children age eight and under and on pregnant women from the BoP. Sanergy designs and builds 250 USD modular sanitation facilities, called Fresh Life Toilets (FLTs), and sells them to local entrepreneurs for 50,000 Kenyan shillings (KES) or about 588 USD in the Mukuru slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Franchisees receive business management and operations training from Sanergy and earn revenues by charging customers 3-5 KES (0.04-0.06 USD) per use.

We found that Sanergy has the greatest impact on its customers’ children. Sanergy also has substantial impacts on children of franchisees and children in the broader community. The majority of impacts that occur on franchisees’ children are the same as those that occur on customers’ children. In addition, franchisees’ children benefit from the income their parents receive from owning the toilets. However, if parents take out loans to purchase the franchise, their ability to provide for their children may be reduced during the loan repayment period. Franchisees’ children are likely to have greater health benefits from using the toilets, since they are able to use them for free and as often as required, as these are located right outside their homes. Although franchisees’ children will have greater health benefits at an individual level, at an aggregate level, customers’ children will have larger health benefits since the number of franchisees’ children will always be less than the number of customers’ children.

Children living in the community surrounding the FLTs (non-customer children), experience many of the same health benefits as customer’s children as a result of improved cleanliness of the nearby environment. As more people use FLTs, a reduced amount of human waste is found on the ground, resulting in better health outcomes for children. People also begin to have an increased sense of respect for their environment. It is important to note that despite these health benefits, children are still at risk of contracting sanitation-related diseases from exposure to polluted water and other contaminated sources. The impacts we observed on the children of Sanergy’s stakeholders varied within and between the age categories of 0-5 and 6-8 years. We expect that children ages 0-5 receive greater health benefits, as they are more likely to be exposed to contaminants from crawling and playing on the ground and have more vulnerable immune-systems.

Based on the likely outcomes Sanergy has on children across its value chain, we identify opportunities that Sanergy can explore to enhance, deepen, and expand its impacts on children age eight and under and on pregnant women.

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