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.