Tag Archives: entrepreneurs

Dutch WASH Alliance – The Diamond Business Approach in Sanitation: a Malawi Case

The Dutch WASH Alliance aims to establish sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene systems that can easily be replicated and scaled up. Within the domain of sanitation, we are creating a functioning WASH market and WASH public sector aiming to increase access to improved sanitation facilities. We support partner organisations that work on demand creation (amongst users); involve WASH entrepreneurs and financial institutions (a working private sector); and support the development of a working public sector. As an Alliance, this is what we refer to as “system change”. To realise system change, WASH Alliance partner WASTE has developed a unique approach called the Diamond Business Approach.

Sanitation Business Matchmaking Estafetta (relay race) 2014

Sanitation Business Matchmaking poster

A group of organisations have launched an initiative to stimulate investment in business proposals that will lead to large-scale sanitation services for the poor. It will involve creating both a virtual marketplace and organising a matchmaking event in Singapore.

The organisations will promote their initiative at three upcoming sector events: the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting, the Money2Water Global Water Investment Summit and the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) Council meeting.
BoP-World-ConventionThe “Sanitation Business Matchmaking Estafetta” will culminate at the BoP WORLD Convention & Expo in Singapore in 28– 30 August 2014. The results of the Estafetta will  be presented during the 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm.

The organisations that have launched the “Sanitation Business Matchmaking Estafetta” include: Aqua for All, Euromoney Water Events, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Simavi, WSP and Waste in association with IRC and the World Toilet Organization  (WTO).

BoP HUB, the co-organiser of the BoP WORLD Convention & Expo, is the brainchild of WTO founder Jack Sim.

See the Estafetta leaflet for full details.


Sanitation as a business – the poor will have to wait

Malawian sanitation entrepreneur Martius using

Malawian sanitation entrepreneur Martius using “The Gulper” to empty a pit latrine. Photo: Water for People

Providing toilets to the poorest may be “dear to the hearts of many non-profits, aid agencies and governments” but if you want to involve business you have to start with the better-off families first. So says business woman and sanitation entrepreneur Towera Jalakari who runs a pit emptying service in Blantyre, Malawi.

“We will get to Everyone in Blantyre one day, but the only way to make sure Blantyre actually solves its sanitation problems is to recognize that the market must function.  [...]  As we get better, as we scale city-wide, then costs will come down, services will improve, and pressure will build for all people to have a toilet.  We will get to the poorest, but they are not our first targets.  [...] If we rush too fast [...] then the poor will not have lasting services but rather a lot of useless toilets and nowhere to go to the bathroom.”

Malawi is one the countries in Water for People’s Sanitation as a Business program (2010-2014), which is funded by a US$ 5.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Water for People has contracted Tools for Enterprise & Education Consultants (TEECs) to support pit emptying businesses in Lilongwe and Blantyre.

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Emptying pits: a serious business

Seminar – Helping entrepreneurs provide sustainable sanitation services

Small private providers, from retailers to masons, from public toilet operators to latrine emptying businesses, are of vital importance to medium- and lower-income communities, according to BPD Water & Sanitation [1]. The sanitation sector needs to capitalise on the growing interest in social entrepreneurship and the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ especially in urban areas.

There are numerous resilient private sanitation providers but the majority get limited support or oversight from public bodies, NGOs and others. Changing this requires requires relatively little effort, contends BPD, and would reap many economic, health and environmental benefits.

At the World Water Week in Stockholm, BPD, the Stockholm Environment Institute and WASTE are organising a seminar on “Helping Entrepreneurs Provide Sustainable Sanitation Services” (24 August 2011, 14.00 – 17.00, Room T6). The seminar explores the different markets and incentives for sanitation entrepreneurs from Bolivia, Ghana and Malawi. In discussion with entrepreneurs and organisations/ specialists that support them, this interactive session will engage participants in debate around two key topics: finance and business support. The session will finish with an interactive ‘sanitation marketplace’.

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Entrepreneurs Tackle Sanitation in Africa

kuriaWASHINGTON, Mar 2 (OneWorld.net) – Three local social entrepreneurs have come up with creative — and lucrative — solutions to poor sanitation in their communities in Africa, where six out of ten people do not have access to a sanitary toilet.

Social entrepreneur David Kuria’s Ecotact “toilet malls” in Nairobi, Kenya “toilet malls” provide bathroom facilities along with shoe shines, food, phone booths, and other commercial services. © Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Photos (flickr) David Kuria’s “toilet malls” are attracting tens of thousands of customers each day in Nairobi’s densely populated Kibera neighborhood. Trevor Mulaudzi employs hundreds of South Africans in a public-toilet clean up enterprise, while Nigerian Dr. Joseph Adelegan is turning animal waste into cooking fuel for the urban poor in Africa’s most populous nation. (See the full article below.)

Providing low-income people with access to clean water is one of the most important issues facing developing countries worldwide. Studies show that sanitation projects deliver highly impressive economic returns of $9 for each $1 of investment, primarily by lowering health care costs and allowing for more regular school and work attendance.

Since the early 1990s, 1 billion people have gained access to clean water worldwide thanks to government initiatives and nongovernmental projects. Nonetheless, 18 percent of the world’s population — including half of the population of South Asia — continues to suffer the indignity of open defecation, mostly in rural areas. Global access to safe sanitation increased only from 54 percent to 62 percent between 1990 and 2006, leaving 2.5 billion people without access.

From: Water Advocates

February 26, 2009 (Washington, D.C.)- Human excrement is serious business. Three African social entrepreneurs, David Kuria, Joseph Adelegan and Trevor Mulaudzi, spoke at the National Press Club last week to share this revolutionary approach to solving the global sanitation crisis. The entrepreneurs speak from experience; each has established lucrative and groundbreaking businesses related to people “doing their business.” Their business models, once considered distractions in the traditional policy or charity realm, are proving to be successful ventures. Their innovations are successfully shifting social behavior and improving public health, the environment and the economy. Trevor Mulaudzi, a South African entrepreneur, stressed that “no one wants to use a dirty toilet no matter how poor they are.”

Entrepreneur David Kuria is making the toilet a hot commodity in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Kenya. To increase demand for and maintenance of toilets in the slums, he founded a venture called Ecotact. “Why just do two quick things in the toilet?” Kuria asks. Ecotact builds “toilet malls” that provide bathroom facilities along with shoe shines, food, phone booths and other commercial services. Each toilet complex is equipped with 8 toilets, a water kiosk, a baby changing station and gender separate showers. 30,000 customers use Ecotact’s facilities every day. Corporations now vie for advertising, while the nearby vendors strive to keep the toilets clean. And it is the business model, not charity or education alone, that drives this success.

Lately the toilet malls have been attracting unlikely champions – a popular comedian who does a stand-up sketch about toilets, the country’s beauty queen, Miss Kenya, and the nation’s Vice President himself, who recently stopped in to use the facilities and pose for photos. In a continent where more than six out of every ten people do not have a sanitary toilet, this new service is removing the taboo around human waste, creating jobs, improving self esteem and making communities enthusiastic about hygiene.

Kuria has recently won several international awards for his work. He is collaborating with Ashoka, Rotary, the Global Water Challenge, the Acumen Fund and other social entrepreneurs internationally to scale up his model and combine it with similar innovations. There is promise for it to extend throughout Kenya and the rest of Africa.

For Nigerian entrepreneur Dr. Joseph Adelegan, a civil engineer by training, human and animal waste was not waste but an opportunity that should not be wasted. A nearby slaughterhouse had been disposing daily the waste of 1,000 slaughtered cows directly into a local river. Joseph designed a bioreactor that digests the waste into biogas that generates electricity and is used for cooking fuel. Local women’s organizations sell the fuel at affordable prices for urban poor. The solid waste left over is a cheap and effective fertilizer. His models, named “Cows to Kilowatts” and “Power to the Poor,” also reduce emission of methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas. His initiative has also improved the quality of the water that the local community uses for cleaning and bathing.

Adelegan’s successful business model not only tackles the technological aspects of this problem, but – even more powerfully – it has mobilized the community. It has even stirred the Nigerian government, which used to block such initiatives, into action. In 2008, his model was accepted into national policy and will be replicated within other slaughterhouses in Nigeria. Meanwhile, Dr. Adelegan, has also been featured on CNN, awarded prizes from the World Economic Forum and covered recently in Fortune magazine. He is now working with other social entrepreneurs to extend the approach to other African countries.

Trevor Mulaudzi, a South African entrepreneur, applies many of these same principles in his business, The Clean Shop. A clean toilet is good business for The Clean Shop. It offers schools and large organizations sanitation services, such as cleaning toilets and repairing plumbing in schools, teaching students hygiene lessons.

A mining geologist by training, Mulaudzi recalled how he set out on this career path the very day he found children skipping class and defecating in the open because their school’s toilet was piled with feces. Now, The Clean Shop employees three hundred people who move in and clean up unusable toilet facilities. They turn them into attractive and dignified places, sometimes with no initial payment or contract.

Mulaudzi approaches the sanitation problem from the perspective of an educator rather than a cleaning contractor. He has used such motivational techniques as requiring that each student bring his or her own roll of toilet paper as the “admission ticket” to the shiny new restroom. In doing so, he builds a sense of pride, dignity and responsibility. It usually evolves into toilet-user demand for clean toilets, which ripples up to change administrative and even government policy. Students in one location even held a protest when Mulaudzi’s contract was not renewed; it prompted the administration to reverse their decision.

Trevor Mulaudzi is a finalist in the Ashoka Changemaker’s recent global competition for innovative solutions to water and sanitation problems. In addition, Trevor has recently been hosted by the government of Malaysia to discuss transferring the lessons of this model.

These three leading entrepreneurs have been working with other entrepreneurs in Africa to establish a new vision of water and waste management where clean water and facilities inspire public pride which translates to political influence, and where waste management and sanitation deliver public health and environmental benefits through an economically profitable business model.

“It can’t be business as usual-real impact needs a new approach that integrates together different approaches to resolving the water and sanitation crisis,” concludes Joseph Adelegan.

Source – One World

UNDP – Strategies for Doing Business with the Poor

Creating Value for All: Strategies for Doing Business with the Poor is the new and groundbreaking report by the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Over a billion people do not have access to drinking water, 1.6 billion do not have access to electricity and 5.4 billion have no access to the Internet. Yet the poor have a largely unexploited potential as consumers, producers, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Creating Value for All showcases 50 examples of local and international companies successfully integrating the poor into their business models to create wealth, spur growth and spark social change. Moreover, the report offers tools for businesses interested in more inclusive markets.

  • Full-report
  • Executive Summary
  • Case Summary 6 – India: Sulabh International, Implementing a low cost, safe sanitation system – Since 1970, Bindheshwar Pathak’s Sulabh International has worked to liberate India’s scavengers by employing low-cost, safe sanitation technology. Over the course of three decades Sulabh has built a commercially viable business model—with a significant development impact. Sulabh has developed 26 toilet designs for varying budgets and locations, training 19,000 masons to build low-cost twin-pit toilets using locally available material. It has also installed more than 1.4 million household toilets, and it maintains more than 6,500 public pay-per-use facilities. Its technology has freed 60,000 people from life as a scavenger, offering programmes to reintegrate them into society.

    Case Summary 9 – Morocco: Lydec, providing electricity, water and sanitation – In 1997, the Moroccan authorities picked LYDEC, a private-sector consortium managed as a subsidiary of SUEZ Environment, to manage Casablanca’s electricity, water and sewage networks under the National Initiative for Human Development. The goal of the 30-year management contract was to provide access to essential services—electricity, water and sanitation—to the residents of Casablanca, including the poor living in shantytowns or illegal settlements. LYDEC has significantly increased the number of people with access to electricity and water services by partnering with the government and working closely with local users through a network of street representatives.

    Case Summary 12 – South Africa: Amanz’ abantu, water for the people – Before the arrival of Amanz’ abantu, villagers—mainly rural women—had to walk up to several hours to obtain water from the nearest river. And they were still vulnerable to waterborne diseases. Bringing a safe water supply within 200 metres of homes transformed the lives of rural residents, equipping villagers with skills in building and construction and making them employable in a country with 25 percent unemployment. The case details the contentious reception for private-sector involvement in water provision and how the company overcame the obstacles to address a social problem and earn a profit—$67,000 in 2006.