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On World Toilet Day, new ideas are being implemented to improve the safety and effectiveness of sanitation methods.
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On World Toilet Day, new ideas are being implemented to improve the safety and effectiveness of sanitation methods.

In accordance with the current focus on rapid progress, pioneers have been actively involved in ongoing initiatives to meet the needs of the 3.5 billion individuals worldwide who lack access to secure sanitation facilities.

A woman from Nepal has inspired her village to prioritize hygiene, while the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has introduced a new strategy for 2022 to drive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 of providing clean water and sanitation for all by 2030. These initiatives are game changers in achieving the 2030 Agenda’s goals.

There is a team of youth in Kisumu, Kenya who are leading the way in sanitation innovation.

Award-winning eco-toilet

Saniwise Technologies, a firm made up of a team of young entrepreneurs, designed an award-winning eco-toilet that also produces manure and chicken feed.

Chelsea Johannes, founder of Saniwise, stated that being raised by a single mother in a low-income community has given her insight into the difficulties faced by individuals in similar situations. The maintenance of toilets is a difficult task and there is reluctance to invest funds towards proper emptying. This is a key motivation for the establishment of Saniwise.

She stated that the Saniwise team plans to create a greater number of toilets for the community utilizing their blue and well-ventilated prototype.

It has already won seed money to do so, after its prototype took second prize at a global competition held by Generation Unlimited, which was founded by UNICEF, Microsoft, IKEA and other partners to foster innovations like these.

Green prototype

Made of recycled materials, including plastic waste, the prototype is well ventilated and uses dry toilet technologies. After visiting the toilet, black soldier fly larvae churn human waste into manure.

“The white grubs in the toilet pan are actually black soldier fly larvae,” she explained. “They’re breaking down the waste. As you can see, it’s starting to resemble soil. After four days, it will be suitable for sale as fertilizer.”

“Empowering youth through self-help”

Saniwise Technologies also offers the by-products for purchase to nearby farmers, such as 77-year-old John Ochieng.

Early in the morning, on a muggy day, Mr. Ochieng walks barefoot through his farm, gathering manure from Ms. Johannes and her team at a nearby lagoon.

He expressed interest in the toilet they constructed. They informed him that it produces fertilizer and chicken feed, so he purchased some samples from them.

Chelsea Johannes (right) explains how the Saniwise Technologies eco-toilet works.

© UNICEF/Paul Kidero

Chelsea Johannes, on the right, demonstrates the functioning of the eco-toilet from Saniwise Technologies.

The fertilizer is already benefiting his farm.

He expressed his satisfaction with the products, stating that the manure greatly benefits his crops and results in vibrant and fruitful growth. He also mentioned that his chickens enjoyed the feed provided. He appreciated seeing young individuals taking initiative to improve their circumstances.

Find out more about how the UN is helping to accelerate progress on improving clean water and sanitation around the world here.

  • Obtain equal and inclusive availability of clean, affordable drinking water and fair access to proper sanitation and hygiene for everyone.

  • Enhance the purity of water by decreasing pollution.

  • Enhance worldwide recycling and promote safe reuse.

  • Improve efficiency in water usage across all industries and areas.

  • Encourage and empower local communities to play an active role in enhancing water and sanitation management.

The United Nations reports that 2.2 billion individuals do not have access to safe drinking water and proper handwashing facilities, while 3.5 billion lack safely managed sanitation.