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.
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.
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
Posted in Africa, East Asia & Pacific, Hygiene Promotion, Sanitation and Health, South Asia
Tagged Bear Valley Ventures, chlornation, Clean Hands Inc, Clean Hands Inc, Clean Kumasi, Community-Led Total Sanitation, Gates Foundation, handwashing, HappyTap, IDEO.org, Innovations for Poverty Action, open defecation, Sanergy, USAID, WASH for Life Partnership, WaterSHED
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.