Production, trialling and assessing the market viability of a household level sanitation solution (portable toilet) for low income urban areas, in Nairobi, Kenya.
In Nairobi alone there are more than 2 million residents in informal settlements. 69% of urban residents do not have access to improved sanitation. Conventional approaches have failed to solve the urban sanitation crisis due to high population densities, insufficient land, short life span of latrines, cost, financial viability and safety issues. Sanitation facilities are generally not open at night and require frequent manual desludging which commonly ends up in rivers and open drains, further exposing residents to public health risks. As a consequence, residents are often forced to resort to open defecation or use of potties, make shift containers and plastic bags in their home (particularly at night), which are subsequently emptied into open drains, rivers ortossed away (“flying toilets”). Women and children tend to spend a greater proportion of their time within settlements and consequently are disproportionately affected by this problem.
Sanergy has a rapidly expanding and popular commercial toilet network, with hygienic and affordable toilets placed in residential areas and in markets. The Fresh Life Toilet (FLT) network is used by local residents up to 33,000 times every day but research indicates that to maximise the penetration of hygienic sanitation into informal settlements, a variety of different sanitation options and delivery models are required.In the last 2 years Oxfam and Sanergy have been partners to scale up access to sanitation through expansion of FLTs into primary schools in low-income areas and since 2014 to design and test a desirable family-oriented urine diversion toilet. This proposal is the 3rd phase of a project started by Oxfam in 2010.
Slum dwellers constitute the majority, “bottom of the pyramid” consumer and their needs must be
addressed to tackle the sanitation crisis. Whilst a functional and aesthetic product – which this project will produce - is important, scalability will only be possible on the basis of a favourable environment, a robust business model and incentives to change, issues which this project also seeks to address. In addition to considering the operational costs and affordability of accessing toilets and an associated collection service, which Sanergy will lead, Oxfam will explore existing constraints (social, economic, legislative) that if unblocked could increase demand and result in accelerated action for a solution.
The objective of this project is to assess service delivery models, demand and feasibility for an in-home urine-diverting (iHud) toilet. This project will build on previous activities and ultimately aim to progress the iHud project to the decision point of commencing full commercial production and sales. Further to this, the project will aim to build a platform for further investigation into the applicability of iHud and the iHud business model to countries in wider-East Africa.
This is the third phase of a project that began in 2010. Since then the toilet design has gone through a design process with several iterations – with the demands and needs of users placed at the centre of the design process. An initial understanding of ergonomic drivers, user preferences, potential manufacturing processes, and an approximate price-point informed a product concept, and Oxfam and Sanergy worked together to produce a Phase 2 product, informed by this process and Oxfam’s learnings from Phase 1.
The objective of this project is to assess service delivery models, demand and feasibility for an in-home urine-diverting toilet. This project will build on previous activities and ultimately aim to progress the iHud project to the point of full commercial production and sales.Further to this, the project will aim to build a platform for further investigation into the applicability of iHud and the iHud business model to countries in wider-East Africa.Finally, Oxfam Kenya will also use project findings to begin investigations into the applicability of iHud to humanitarian crises and installation in refugee camps.
The principle aim of this project relates to local manufacture of a low cost, in-house toilet and, under a service delivery model, explore its acceptance amongst resident of Nairobi slums and scalability within the Kenyan context. However information generated on user acceptance, market reach, price point and willingness to pay, operating costs and required operating set up will provide information which can enable others to consider the viability of establishing a service delivery model elsewhere.
During the last 4 months of the project, our team finalized the design of our in-home toilet, following Oxfam’s validation, and the mould is on its way to Kenya to start manufacturing the 60 iHud products. We also selected a new name to sell our in-home toilets in the informal settlements. Our iHud product will be commercialized under the name of Fresh Fit, closer to our well-known brand Fresh Life and focusing on the fact that it can fit in a home. We will sell our Fresh Fit toilets in the area of Bins, in Mukuru, during the pilot project.
We hired 2 new team members to sell the toilets, support our customers and monitor data during the implementation of the project. Our team has been trained by a consultant from Whitten and Roy Partnership, a consulting firm specialized in sales, who also helped us work on our sales strategy and materials. Our commercial plan is completed and we will start selling our products mid-October.
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