Updates on Sanergy in Kenya (public toilet business with urine diversion and composting)

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  • Doreen
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Re: A simple, cheap solution to light in rural toilets

Dear Trevor,

As Elisabeth mentioned, the transluscent roof really helps in ensuring that there is appropriate light in Sanergy toilets.

Regarding flies, they are nonexistent in Sanergy toilets because the urine and faeces containers are emptied on a daily basis. I can attest to that as I use them every time I visit them in Mukuru. They are clean, very well maintained and don’t smell at all.

File Attachment:

Kentainer slab, solid waste bin, sanitary towel bin and saw dust container by Sustainable sanitation , on Flickr

I also think there are no flies because of the provision of a sanitary towel and a solid waste bin. As you can see from the picture, both of them also have lids.

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Doreen
Doreen Mbalo

GIZ Sustainable Sanitation Programme
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  • tmsinnovation
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Re: A simple, cheap solution to light in rural toilets

A very valid question about light and flies.
What is Sanergy's experience in Kenya with respect to flies, as their toilet appears to be very well lit judging from the photo that Elisabeth posted above?
Laura are you able to provide us with some insight in this respect?
Trevor Surridge
Decentralized Wastewater Management for Adaptation to Climate Change in Jordan (ACC Project)
Project Manager

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Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Shmeisani,
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Re: A simple, cheap solution to light in rural toilets

Hi to everybody in this forum,

Thanks, Elisabeth for posting about our Fresh Life Toilet. Just to add on what you wrote in your post: Sanergy provides every FLO (Fresh Life Operator) with a solar light which is charged during the day and provides light for the toilets during the night. That’s how we ensure that people do not have to use the toilet in pitch black darkness which, I agree is quiet challenging.

Laura

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: A simple, cheap solution to light in rural toilets

Dear Trevor,

Thanks for sharing this and bringing up this issue (see here on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/141-ot...ght-in-rural-toilets). I agree with you, light in a toilet room is one really important ingredient to make the user feel comfortable and to encourage cleanliness inside of the cubicle! Strange that lighting is so often neglected (and aren't VIP latrines purposefully dark so that flies fly to the top of the vent pipe where the fly sceen is located?).

That option with the PET bottle shown in the video is interesting. But does it only work during sunshine hours, i.e. not during cloudy days? The water in the bottle is meant to reflect the sunlight, right?

Your posting reminded me of the solution which Sanergy in Kenya have for this. They use a plastic sheeting on the top (I don't know the exact technical term), see this photo:

File Attachment:

Esther's fresh life toilet by Sustainable sanitation , on Flickr

I have been inside one of their toilets and it is very bright (during day time).

Neither solution helps during night-time of course - there you need a torch, kerosene light, solar light with battery, biogas-powered lamp, normal electricity or whatever... Having to use a toilet in pitch black darkness at night is really not comfortable.
But at least during day time we should keep them bright because it should be fairly easy!

By the way, the photo which accompanied the Gates article is from a UDDT in South Africa. Nice how UDDTs are becoming mainstream... Did you notice the plastic sheet inside of the wooden door? Maybe that lets light through as well?

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Re: Some information about the UDDTs of Sanergy

Dear all,

I had heard about Sanergy every now and again, but two weeks ago I had the chance to meet two people behind Sanergy when I had a one-day stop-over in Nairobi. Thanks to Doreen Mbalo, who is currently doing an internship with GIZ in Nairobi, we got to meet Ani and Laura from Sanergy, view their demonstration toilet, see their operations and comosting unit and discuss their business set-up.

I must say, I am very impressed with their strategy and the confidence in which they pull it through. While the number of toilets sold (franchised) is still relatively small for now, this could quickly change if all goes well.

The toilet type is actually a UDDT with ground level access, meaning without stairs (built from pre-cast concrete components which are added together like a lego set). Half of the price is in the blue paint but Sanergy thinks that this paint is very important to "recognise" their toilet from far away (I can't remember the price now, but it is difficult to compare anyway as it includes the emptying service; it was in the normal range for UDDTs, perhaps around EUR 300 or thereabout). The faeces and urine containers are located in a small chamber below the urine diversion plastic squatting pan.


See here some photos:

File Attachment:

Plastic urine diversion squatting pan lifted to reveal the containers by Sustainable sanitation , on Flickr

File Attachment:

Closing the faeces container by Sustainable sanitation , on Flickr

File Attachment:

The closed faeces container is taken away by Sustainable sanitation , on Flickr

File Attachment:

Group photo at the Sanergy site in Mukuru kwa Reuben by Sustainable sanitation , on Flickr

Please see more photos and details here: www.flickr.com/photos/gtzecosan/sets/721...423/with/6879878563/

The business owner (who runs e.g. a kiosk plus one public toilet) does not need to worry about emptying, as this is done daily (!) by the staff from Sanergy. The cost for emptying services is built into the toilet price. We all know how difficult mainntenance for a public toilet is. But this system is innovative and could well work. The toilet operator relies on people coming back and having a clean toilet is a magnet to come back to (hopefully).

Sanergy is also successful in pulling in research grants, e.g. from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. So now they can even study various ways for dealing with the collected excreta. We saw their composting process (with wood shavings) where they achieve pretty high temperatures (50-60 deg C) which surprised and impressed me. They have firm intentions of making also a profit from selling the end product (productive sanitation once again).

Personally I have my doubts on whether significant profits could be made from any final product of excreta. I hope to be proven wrong! But I compare it to e.g. waste paper in Germany: It is collected from the households and even though waste paper is a huge business and recycled paper a big market, the households do not get any money for giving away their waste paper but often still have to pay collection fees. The same with brown bins where organic waste from households is collected. These waste recycling companies make most of their money from collection fees and only a small proportion from selling the recycled products. Well, maybe it is different for excreta, time will tell!

Ani who is originally from India and one of the co-founders of Sanergy (see photo above), told us many interesting aspects about this business venture and how it could develop in future. He also said "we don't treat this as a project (with a start and an end), we are in this for the long haul. We live in Nairobi, this is our business and we want it to be successful."

In development cooperation or when we get EU projects (like the Ecosan Promotion Project in Kenya, ROSA, CLARA, ...), we always battle with the fact that the project is finished and the funding runs out just when toilets are built and beginning to be operated. And this is only when the difficulties start! So being there for the long haul and being patient is so important.

If you have questions or comments about Sanergy or the toilet system, please put them here. I will try to answer or even better, Laura can answer (she is the lady on the right in the photo above). (I am the one in the skirt on the photo above)

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Re: Forbes article on Sanitation and Energy

Hi Sunder and everybody on this forum!

Thanks for posting about Sanergy. We have just held a grand opening for our newest Fresh Life Toilet on World Toilet Day. We were very happy to have Philip Kisia, the Town Clerk of Nairobi, cut the ribbon and generally join in the celebrations as you can see in the picture below. This Fresh Life toilet is owned and operated by Caroline Mueni Mutua from the informal settlement Mukuru Kwa Njenga. Caroline has been a successful small business owner in Kwa Njenga for several years. As soon as she heard about the Fresh Life toilet through her bank, Faulu Kenya, she jumped at the chance to apply. Caroline successfully completed the Fresh Life training and is now excited to operate the toilet as an additional business. If you would like to know more about our project check our blog under: saner.gy/



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  • sunder.s
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Updates on Sanergy in Kenya (public toilet business with urine diversion and composting)

Hi All,

Some of you may be interested in this piece that appeared in Forbes, titled "Who Gives A Crap? Sanitation, Energy and Entrepreneurship in Kenya"

The link to the article is tinyurl.com/7tlagdw


Cheers,

Sunder
Sunder Subramanian
International Development and Infrastructure Advisor/Consultant
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