Mini Desludging Unit in Ethiopia (MDU)

2016 - 2018 • WASTE


Developing a locally made mini-desludging device in Ethiopia and building business around it


As part of the Emergency Sanitation Project (ESP), we were challenged to develop a desludging device and simple effective faecal sludge treatment methods in Adama City in Ethiopia and to further develop businesses for these devices. By doing so, this project would support both households who have pit latrines that need to be emptied frequently, and at the same time benefit local Micro and Small Enterprises that are active in pit emptying service provision. Within the project, partner Yassin Industries (a local manufacturer that has a well-equipped metal processing workshop) played a central role.

The project was built up in five phases:
1. Basic research and designing the concept of the project.
2. Proof of concept: assessing the project concept and carrying out a pre-feasibility study of the local market.
3. Early-stage technology development: building, testing and demonstrating the actual prototypes on difficult sludge (household pit latrines and public toilets) .
4. Product development: further analysing the market for the Mini Desludging Unit (MDU) and producing the desludging device itself in close collaboration with Yassin Industries.
5. Product marketing: Once the final prototype is tested and proven functional, the product is brought to the market.

A focus on sustainability: In order to develop sustainable and viable business out of a device such as the Mini Desludging Unit, we ensured the equipment has been built locally, with local materials and by local people so that maintenance and repair measures can be taken on spot in a short period of time.

Countries of activity

Location of main activity


1. Support the development of a small desludging device made locally, and with locally available materials, local technicians and local partners, including Yassin Industries.
2. Develop of a small desludging device business: with our support, Yassin Industries promotes the technology; creates business opportunities; and develops business and marketing strategies. This, in order to produce and sell the equipment to small local businesses that are working in the sanitation sector, and also to NGOs and municipalities.

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Europe, Caucasus & Central Asia Sub-Saharan Africa

WASTE advisers on urban environment and development
The Hague

WASTE works towards sustainable improvement of the urban poor's living conditions and the urban environment in general. Our multi-year, multi-country programmes and projects have a focus on bottom-up development in relation to recycling, solid waste management, ecological sanitation and knowledge sharing. WASTE, located in the Netherlands, teams up with organisations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe that share its goals and approaches.

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