Private and Social Toilets (PRISTO) in Ghana, Biofil Toilet Systems (public-private partnership with Triarii B.V. as lead)

  • DianeKellogg
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Private and Social Toilets (PRISTO) in Ghana, Biofil Toilet Systems (public-private partnership with Triarii B.V. as lead)

I would like to introduce a funded project which will increase the number of Biofil Toilet Systems in households and schools of two urban poor sections of Accra, Ghana, and increase the production capacity of Biological Filters and Composters. I am the marketing consultant for the project and was involved from the beginning in the creation of the PPP and the writing of the grant.

Title of Grant: Private and Social Toilets (PRISTO)

Program: Ghana-Netherlands WASH Window, Department of Foreign Affairs
www.rvo.nl/subsidies-regelingen/projecte...e-and-social-toilets

Project entry in SuSanA project database: www.susana.org/en/knowledge-hub/projects/database/details/263

General Purpose of the Grant:
PRISTO is a public-private partnership intended to promote improved health by reducing disease caused by contact with human waste. This will be achieved by facilitating the marketing, production, sale and installation of Biofil Toilet Systems in urban poor households in Accra, Ghana. Ga Central and Ashaimen municipalities were selected because of their pre-existing advocacy for Biofil Toilet Systems. See links below for more information on Biofil Toilet Systems.

PPP Partners and Contact Persons:
Lead Partner:
Triarii B.V. (business consultant), Ron Overgoor, Partner
www.triarii.nl/en/

Public Partners:
Ashaimen Municipal Assembly, Bronze Narh, Chief Executive
Ga Central Municipal Assembly, Aristo Aryee, Chief Executive

Private Partners:
Biological Filters and Composters, Kweku Anno, Executive Director & Founder
www.biofilcom.net/

Crystal Marbles (financial services), Wim van den Dungen, Partner
www.crystalmarbles.nl/

Design 180 (manufacturing consultant), Wim Hardeman, Principal
www.linkedin.com/in/wimhardeman

Kellogg Consultants (marketing consultant), Diane M. Kellogg, Partner
www.linkedin.com/in/DianeKellogg

Ghana-based NGO:
People’s Dialogue on Human Settlements, Farouk Braimah, Executive Director
www.pdghana.org/


Start and End Date:
January 2015 – December 2019

Grant Type:
Public-Private Partnership

Grant Size in USD:
$1,878,702 (Euro 1,679,333 converted 4 Sept 2015)

Note: The overall PPP project budget is Euro 2,799,083. Ghana-Netherlands WASH program contributes 60% (Euro 1,679,333); partners contribute 40% (Euro 1,119,750).

Description of Goals and Objectives:
  1. Reduce the transmission of disease caused by human contact with faecal material by increasing the percentage of the population in the targeted municipalities that have a Biofil Toilet System, which does not require human contact with faecal material, in their household.
  2. Establish a cashless payment system that uses cell phone payments of small amounts once or twice each month for the repayment of toilet loans offered to PRISTO buyers through local banks and funding agencies. (PRISTO will not be providing toilet loans, but will be involved in negotiating rates that municipalities can offer their buyers.)
  3. Install 1,600 Biofil Toilet Systems in low income households, selling to Municipalities in bulk orders of at least 100 to improve the lives of 16,000 citizens.
  4. Install 400 toilets in public schools or clinics at no cost to Municipalities in return for their sales and marketing efforts within their community.
  5. This will provide children and medical patients with safe and hygienic toilets and hand-washing facilities, improving the health of 16,000 school children or medical patients.
  6. Educate residents and school communities about the importance of hand-washing to disease prevention and the proper use and maintenance of Biofil Toilet Systems.
  7. Make investments in improving the Biofilcom manufacturing process to increase production capacity from 1,000 per year to 5,000 per year.
  8. To further improve and standardize products and the production process while improving safety and labor conditions.
  9. Develop marketing strategies for Biofil Toilet Systems, based on an internal assessment of PRISTO’s effectiveness in promoting Biofil Toilet Systems in urban areas
Current state of the project:
As of 1 September 2015:
  1. The Consortium Agreement is signed and in place.
  2. The Baseline Study of sanitation conditions in Ga Central and Ashaimen has been completed and approved.
  3. The Monitoring and Evaluation Plan has been completed and approved.
  4. Ashaimen has ordered 100 toilets; Ga Central has ordered 30. The bulk order of 130 is in production with an installation target of 1 October 2015.
  5. Manufacturing and re-engineering design work by Design 180 has been completed.
  6. Plans are being made for upgrading the manufacturing facility in Tema, Ghana.
Challenges:
  • To motivate the first 130 buyers to make timely payments on their toilet loans, as this will impact future access to toilet loans for other urban poor buyers. Municipalities intend to be deeply committed to tracking the loans and assuring that the first set of buyers repay.
  • To upgrade the Tema manufacturing facility in a timely way, to keep up with the number of Biofil Toilet Systems that we anticipate will be ordered through PRISTO in the coming months. The first 130 are being produced using the existing manufacturing process.
  • To assure that all school users of the toilets know how to (and are fully committed to) properly use, flush, wash their hands and leave the toilet clean for the next user. Municipalities will “own” the toilets and have the responsibility for assuring that toilets are clean and well-maintained.
  • To assure that excellent user training results in creating a positive reputation of Biofilcom based on the quality of performance of the toilets in households and in schools. Biofilcom’s experience is that households do a better job of keeping their toilets clean and in good working order—they can usually track down the last user if the toilet is left unclean. The same “pride of ownership” isn’t as easily achieved with large groups of users.
  • To learn from successes and failures of other projects that have installed toilets in schools and implemented hand-washing programs.
Links to more information:
Project entry in SuSanA project database: www.susana.org/en/knowledge-hub/projects/database/details/263

www.biofilcom.net/

Further discussion of Biofil Toilet Systems is found on the SuSanA discussion forum at: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/205-biofil-toilet

A video of an OxFam America project in Senegal ( here ) explains Biofil Toilet Systems beginning at 6:45 minutes.

NOTE: Don't be thrown off by the long set of steps up to the toilet: these pilot installations are in a highly flood prone area and the height is necessary to maintain the aerobic environment the bugs, germs and worms need to live in the digester box to do their job of eating and digesting the waste. Also importantly, the height above the high water mark means a longer column of earth and sand to purify the liquid effluence.

I welcome questions or comments you might have about PRISTO. I am particularly looking to the SuSanA community for ideas about how to create what I call a "culture of cleanliness" among users of school and public toilets.

Regards,

Diane


DIANE M. KELLOGG
Partner, Kellogg Consultants
Associate Professor, Management, Bentley University
Member, Board of Directors, Hope for Africa


faculty.bentley.edu/details.asp?uname=dkellogg

Diane M. Kellogg
Partner, Kellogg Consultants
Private Sector Specialist, BMGF grant to SuSanA
Marketing Consultant, PRISTO (RVO-funded grant)
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  • DianeKellogg
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Re: Update on PRISTO

An update on this project (PRISTO, see its introduction above):

Ashaimen Municipal Assembly (Accra, Ghana) has organized community meetings and is encouraging people to buy Biofil Toilet Systems through PRISTO, the PPP intended to increase coverage of private toilets. Here's a photo of the PRISTO team from Ashaimen:




They have a lot to be proud of in the first 100 days. They have taken orders for 165 Biofil Toilet Systems in the first three months of our 48-month project. With a goal of 1600 toilets, they've accomplished 10% of the goal in 6% of the time. And we see the momentum growing. Word is spreading throughout the community.

Two of the challenges we listed on the PRISTO Project Introduction Form (see post above) are proving to be the case.

1. Buyers are finding it challenging to finance the purchase. Far more than 165 were interested, but still needed to figure out how to do the financing. Only 26 of the 165 buyers have opened a savings account with the local bank, where 50% must be saved before the toilet loan is given. The other 139 buyers (home owners and landlords) say they will be paying cash because they don't want a high interest loan, but are open to other sources of loans that might be offered. (We don't yet know how long it will take for those buyers to make full payment.)

2. Biofilcom is finding it challenging to produce and install at a rapid pace. They are experiencing increased demand for their products in Ghana, and beyond. PRISTO will result in increased manufacturing capacity for Biofilcom, and we expect that as capacity increases, the "order date to delivery date" will improve.

We welcome comments and feedback from the SuSanA community. We especially welcome ideas about helping PRISTO buyers find low interest financing.

Regards,
Diane

Diane M. Kellogg
Partner, Kellogg Consultants
Private Sector Specialist, BMGF grant to SuSanA
Marketing Consultant, PRISTO (RVO-funded grant)
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  • goeco
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Re: Update on PRISTO

So looking at the numbers, this grant of nearly $1000 per toilet is for further product development, increasing manufacturing capacity and marketing of the proprietary biofil toilet? Sorry to come across as cynical, but to me there appear to be lots of snouts in the trough, yet the only benefit to end users appears to be a loan to purchase the toilet. I stand to be corrected of course.

Biofilcom's boss Kwaku Anno is quoted as saying "The goal of Biofil is to get a toilet in every Ghanaian home, workplace and school...". An admirable commercial goal, but in my world investors should risk their own capital in expansion and market development of a successful product, this one launched in 2008.

Grants should surely support research into improving costs and methods of treatment and resulting effluent quality, or support the end user if too poor to buy the product.

I have to say that the information resources provided by Biofilcom so far (website, videos etc) are very poor. Could anybody provide detail on the previous Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant to Biofilcom and the expected outputs from the 2013 $500,000 grant? All I can find is that the grant was expected to bring the cost down from $1000 to $600. Is the project complete and were there outcomes?

Dean Satchell, M For. Sc.
Vermifilter.com
www.vermifilter.com
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  • DianeKellogg
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Re: Update on PRISTO

I‘ve slopped a lot of hogs in my day, and loved Dean’s “snouts in the trough” analogy. I grew up on a chicken farm where I gathered a lot of eggs and shoveled a lot of shit. I continue to encounter plenty of shit for shoveling these days, too. And I do mean that both figuratively and literally. Quoting a fellow sanitation consultant, who has noted how unwelcoming the sanitation world is to profit-making businesses: “This industry is fucked up.”

With apologies for being slow to respond to your post on the PRISTO thread, I also send appreciation for your calling a spade a spade. The cost per toilet for any of these projects is shameful. Your observations suggest a very important study: Any volunteers to give us a spreadsheet analyzing the “dollars to toilets” ratio over the last ten years of spending money on toilet projects?

Diane M. Kellogg
Partner, Kellogg Consultants
Private Sector Specialist, BMGF grant to SuSanA
Marketing Consultant, PRISTO (RVO-funded grant)
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