Tag Archives: social enterprise

Promotion of low flush toilets in urban Mozambique from innovation idea to social enterprise

Infographic of the Biological Urban Sanitation project (BUSP) in Maputo

The Pia Fantastica toilet flushes with just one cup of water under an angle of 45 degrees and has no water seal. It has the convenience of a pedestal like a conventional ceramic toilet, and, if well installed, has no smell or fly problem. It is a toilet made out of concrete which can be produced for a price of just US$ 6.50 and is therefore attractive to the local sanitation market.

The Pia Fantastica was developed as part of the Biological Urban Sanitation Project (2016–2019) where Black Soldier Fly larvae were used for environmental friendly pit emptying.

The project has been translated into a social enterprise “Susamati” run by young professionals in Maputo, Mozambique. Setting up an enterprise is about building a team as well as marketing and sales. At this point, making a financially sustainable enterprise remains a challenge.

Annemarieke J. Mooijman, Yvette E. van Dok, Manuel Lélio A. Gungulo, Björn  Brandberg, Promotion of low flush toilets in urban Mozambique from innovation  idea to social enterprise, Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 116, 2021, Pages 287-291
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India: Sulabh features in UNDP report on business strategies that engage the poor

Sulabh International ‘s work on low-cost sanitation in India and abroad was chosen as one of the 50 successful business models for targetting the poor that feature in UNDP’s new report “Creating Value for All: Strategies for Doing Business with the Poor” released on 1 July 2008. The full case study “Sulabh International: A Movement to Liberate Scavengers by Implementing a Low-Cost, Safe Sanitation System (India)” reviews the positive outcomes for the poor, key constraints and key strategies used.

In 2005, Sulabh’s revenues, mainly from the construction of household latrines and pay-per-use public toilets, reached nearly Rs 1250 million (US$32 million) with a 15 percent surplus (i.e. approximately US$5 million).  The surplus was used to run social programmes.

The case study not only deals with the successes of Sulabh but also addresses criticism of its approach  and some failures, such as the termination of its contract by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to maintain 1,953 public toilets in the city. Other players, like SPARC (Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centers), Fumes International  and Gram Vikas, emerged in 2004/2005 to challenge Sulabh’s monopoly in working with state governments.

Sulabh’s founder, Bindheshwar Pathak, revealed his new vision for the organisation in which it would move away from implementation and focus on the establishment of Sulabh’s Sanitation University. Sulabh was cultivating 23 non-profit organizations started by former employees to implement and run projects in its place, a trend Pathak expected to continue.