Unisex urinal usability testing
consultancy report for Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Eschborn, Germany

Published in: 2011

Sustainable Sanitation Design (SuSan Design)

Sindani, E. G. Y.

Content - Summary

Background:Industrial designer Sarah Keller, working and living in Kampala, Uganda from 2008 to 2009, wanted to design a product that serves the inhabitants of urban slums in Africa. A Nairobi slum was chosen for testing as a seriously affected urban area lacking a basic sanitation system. The sanitation situation in the slums of cities like Kampala and Nairobi is characterised by dirty latrines; filled up pits; long queues of waiting users; idlers, drunkards and bang smoking men around the facilities, all of which makes it hard, especially for women, to use the public facilities. The result of Sarah Keller’s work is the unisex urinal, which was developed in cooperation with Crestank, a Uganda subsidiary of a production company specialized in water containers, storage tanks and toilets made from plastics. Their HQ is in Nairobi.

Goal of unisex urinal: The design was led by the overall aim to enhance the slum residents’ human dignity. Especially designed to serve the needs of women, it should also serve the other family members. It should be producible with local material and local industrial partners. As a sustainable product, it should have a far reaching impact in areas such as hygiene, health, environment, education and economy.
The testing phase: The needed baseline, selection of families, community mobilization and testing phase lasting 3 months included placement of the unisex urinal with 2 x 10 families for 2 weeks and 1 week at a large primary school in a slum of Nairobi. The testing with families and school children was to assure that the product served the goals of the unisex urinal can be reached in the local context. One of the main intentions was to gain user feedback to ensure that the final product will be successful and can then be mass produced as a part of a scalable value chain for sanitation. The collection and sale of sanitized urine to farmers will serve the community as a source of income to maintain the value chain serving the community.

Results of testing phase: We experienced a great support by the community at all levels before and during the testing phase. The primary users (women) were very happy about the sense of relief, security and function the product gave them. The test has confirmed that women want to have access to this product. There is a certain willingness to pay for such a product, therefore additional studies should be undertaken regarding the market, production, distribution and information campaigns. We should also see how the unisex urinal can be customized for disabled people who gave great feedback when using it while bedridden.

Bibliographic information

Sindani, E. G. Y. (2011). Unisex urinal usability testing - consultancy report for Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Eschborn, Germany. Sustainable Sanitation Design (SuSan Design)


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