Tag Archives: Sanergy

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.

Is there a sustainable business case for sanitation?

Left to right: Radu Ban (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), Babar Kabir (BRAC) and Bernadette Blom (Goodwell Investments), panelists at the workshop Making Sustainable Business out of Sanitation. Photo: Peter McIntyre

Left to right: Radu Ban (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), Babar Kabir (BRAC) and Bernadette Blom (Goodwell Investments), panelists at the workshop Making Sustainable Business out of Sanitation. Photo: Peter McIntyre

The business case for sanitation in developing countries is testified by the thousands of small scale entrepreneurs springing up to tackle problems of open defecation and process faecal waste and urine.

Will these businesses be profitable and sustainable? Can they address the huge scale of the problem? Will they address the issues in rural areas as well as urban areas? These questions are much harder to answer.

The evidence from an event at the International Water Week leading up to the Sarphati Sanitation Award was mixed. The workshop Making Sustainable Business out of Sanitation, showed a high level of innovation and enthusiasm for businesses to address two of the most intractable public health and environment issues of our age – the 2.5 billion people who don’t have access to safe hygienic toilets and sanitation, and how to deal with human waste.

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Sanergy from Nairobi wins first Sarphati Sanitation Award

Becky Auerbach (Sanergy)

Becky Auerbach (Sanergy). Photo: Dick de Jong, H2O Communications, 2013

Sanergy won the first Sarphati Santation Award because in the past two years it has built 242 sanitation facilities run by 130 local entrepreneurs from Nairobi’s slums, who earn US$ 2,000 per year in income for their families while providing hygienic sanitation to 10,000+ residents. The Mayor of Amsterdam awarded a cash prize of 50.000 euros (US$  67,000) and a statue by famous artist Marte Röling to the winner, Becky Auerbach from Sanergy during the International Water Week (IWW) in Amsterdam. IDE Cambodia and Mr. Toilet, Jack Sim were the runners up.

The three nominees have in common that they provide remarkable sustainable business solutions “turning shit into gold”. They have shown that it is very well possible to address sanitation and public health issues in developing countries while making profit. Over the past years interest has increased for new ways to address the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation.

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WASH for Life grants for the HappyTap and six other innovations

WaterSHED’s Vietnamese HappyTap. Photo: WaterSHED

The HappyTap, a low-cost handwashing device for the Vietnamese market, is one of seven innovations to receive a grant from the WASH for Life Partnership. This US$ 17 million initiative is co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV).

In 2010, with USAID support, the WaterSHED program teamed with the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) to develop and market a new handwashing device. The design came from IDEO.org, which itself has received a WASH for Life grant for Clean Kumasi, an digitally-supported approach to Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). Together with Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), IDEO.org is working to combat open defecation in Kumasi, Ghana using mobile phones and open-source mapping.

Examples of signs  posted to prompt residents to flash Clean Kumasi. Photo: IDEO.org

Examples of signs posted to prompt residents to flash Clean Kumasi. Photo: IDEO.org

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Bike-powered poop pump is redefining low-cost sanitation

A bike-powered poop pump is redefining low-cost sanitation, April 2011, by Robert Goodier, Engineering for Change.

Meet the next generation of bicycle-powered devices for developing countries: a pit latrine pump. It’s the offspring of locally available parts—a bucket, a hose, a bicycle—and a modified bike-powered corn sheller, which is itself a field-tested time saver. The pump is still in testing, But so far, it seems to represent the kind of inventiveness and repurposing of parts needed to achieve extreme affordability. The brains behind it are a team of MIT engineers and business students who formed Sanergy, an organization working to redefine low-cost sanitation.

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