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Fresh Life Choo
Nairobi, Kenya
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sustainable sanitation units in urban slums.

image: Gates Foundation | CC-BY-NC-ND_black.png some rights reserved
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Category:
health & sanitation
Phase:
in use
Design:
Sanergy
Updated:
19 July 2012
introduction

2.6 billion people worldwide lack access to adequate sanitation. The resulting diarrheal disease kills 1.5 million children each year. The high population density combined with the lack of infrastructure makes the sanitation crisis particularly acute in slums, where populations will double to 2 billion by 2030. The lack of proper waste removal and treatment options also creates a tremendous source of environmental pollution. Each year, the 8 million people in Kenya’s slums alone discharge 4 million metric tons of untreated human waste into the surrounding soil and waterways. In these areas that lack basic water and sewage infrastructure, solving the sanitation crisis requires more than just building toilets.

Sanergy: A Startup That Plans to Turn Waste into Energy in Africa

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cultural and social context

8 million slum dwellers in Kenya do not have adequate sanitation. The population in the country’s slums is increasing rapidly at 6% per year. In fact, 75% of Nairobi already lives in informal settlements across the city, occupying just 5% of the land. The availability of toilets in Kenya’s slums is significantly less than demand. Despite having to pay up to $0.06 per use, 70% of the slum dwellers do not have a connection to sewers and rely on unsafe pit latrines, ‘flying toilets’, and open defecation. Of the pit toilets constructed, over 65% have fallen into disrepair. The end result: On average 150 people share 1 toilet, most of which are unhygienic.

A view of Nairobi slums

image: Sanergy | © all rights reserved
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materials and building techniques

Sanergy's design goals were generally to create a toilet that was both economical and socially sustainable; and specifically for the pilot to 1) create a low-cost building solution under US$500, 2) design an efficient system for the ease of construction, and 3) provide a low-maintenance system for ease of operations. It was essential that the units be highly cost effective in order to make personal ownership attainable to entrepreneurs, yet not at the expense of its ability to attract and retain paying customers over its life cycle.

Image of milling and laminating floor mold plug at the FabLab in Nairobi, Kenya.

image: Sanergy | © all rights reserved
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Image of milling and laminating floor mold plug at the FabLab in Nairobi, Kenya.

image: Sanergy | © all rights reserved
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The plug then traveled to Fiberglass Specialists to get our castable fiberglass mold.

image: Sanergy | © all rights reserved
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The plug then traveled to Fiberglass Specialists to get our castable fiberglass mold.

image: Sanergy | © all rights reserved
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The plug then traveled to Fiberglass Specialists to get our castable fiberglass mold.

image: Sanergy | © all rights reserved
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installion of 2 working units in the settlements around Nairobi.

image: Sanergy | © all rights reserved
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Plastic urine diversion squatting pan lifted to reveal the containers

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Installion of 2 working units in the settlements around Nairobi.

image: Sanergy | © all rights reserved
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Poster explaining how to use the toilet

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Preparing the containers

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Preparing a new faeces container

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Attaching the rubber band to the new faeces container

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Placing a new urine container

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Exchanging the containers

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Lifting the faeces container.

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Urine container lifted

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The closed faeces container is taken away. The mask is used against the odour (but probably not really necessary).

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Lifting the containers from above Containers are emptied on a regular basis (daily for the real toilets!). This toilet is a demo unit used by the

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Closing the faeces container

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Plastic squatting pan was lifted to reveal the two containers

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Plastic squatting pan was lifted to reveal the two containers Urine container at the front, faeces bucket at the back

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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image gallery
The Sanergy Fresh Life toilets, ver. 1.5a and 1.5b set up for use by employees at the field site.

image: Nathan Cooke | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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cleaning the toilet

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Waste collectors getting ready to empty the toilets

image: Sustainable sanitation | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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technical drawings
technical drawing

image: Sanergy | © all rights reserved
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Unit design

image: Sanergy | © all rights reserved
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floor element

image: Sanergy | © all rights reserved
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Location
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