ACUMEN ENTREPRENEURS BUILD SOLUTIONS TO THE TOUGHEST CHALLENGES FACING THE POOR
Developing a sustainable sanitation cycle in Kenya by selling pay-per-use toilets to local entrepreneurs and collecting and converting waste into fertilizer for smallholder farmers
Of the 8 million Kenyans who live in urban informal settlements, 80 percent lack access to basic sanitation.
Instead, many residents throw plastic bags, or “flying toilets,” into the street at night. Many also practice open defecation or use unhygienic pit latrines, shallow holes that can overflow during periods of heavy rain or flooding.
The health hazards associated with inadequate sanitation services are clear. Open drainage affects the waterways and contributes to outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, and intestinal worms.
Tackling the sanitation crisis in slums will take more than just building toilets. Sanergy’s approach is to address the entire sanitation value chain. Sanergy builds a network of high-quality “Fresh Life” branded toilets and franchises them to local micro-entrepreneurs. Sanergy employees collect waste from the toilets daily and deliver it to a central processing facility where the waste is converted into organic fertilizer for farmers.
Sanergy’s model ensures increased access to improved sanitation facilities in slums while also providing a safe way to treat human waste and capitalize on its inherent value. Since their pilot phase in 2011, Sanergy has scaled to over 600 franchised toilets in three of Nairobi’s slum areas, with over 25,000 uses per day. The toilets have been used more than 1,000,000 times, and Sanergy has safely removed more than 500 tons of waste from the community. With Acumen’s investment, Sanergy plans to scale to thousands of toilets serving over 50,000 low-income customers every day.