Sanergy - the urban sanitation challenge

Snapshot Solution
The Fresh Life Toilets include a handwashing station with soap, water and a bin for feminine hygiene.
Sanergy

In the slums of Kenya's biggest cities, indoor toilets and sanitation options are often a rarity. In rapidly developing cities, the number of people living with inadequate housing and limited access to basic services is expected to double to two billion by 2030. The lack of sanitation infrastructure is detrimental to human health and well-being and negatively impacts the surrounding natural environment. Household and organic waste often ends up in local ecosystems and rivers. Cities trying to solve this problem often struggle to meet the high-cost rates of building sanitation services. To deal with high-cost rates, Sanergy has built up a network of low-cost toilets that collects and converts organic waste into fertilizer and insect-based animal feed. An affordable and effective sewer alternative is offered to Africa’s informal settlements with this circular system. Sanergy has partnered with Nairobi, Kisumi and other cities intending to serve 1.3 million Kenyan citizens with sanitation services.  

Last update: 07 Mar 2022
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Context
Challenges addressed
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of infrastructure
Unemployment / poverty
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnational
Ecosystems
Area-wide development
Buildings and facilities
Theme
Sustainable financing
Cities and infrastructure
Health and human wellbeing
Sustainable livelihoods
Local actors
Waste management
Location
Nairobi, Kenya
East and South Africa
Impacts

Since 2011, the installed toilets in Nairobi have been used over 126,690 times a day and have made it possible to collect and treat 43,473 tonnes of waste every year. This project provides a circular solution for waste management in Kenya while protecting urban water streams and avoid dumping in landfills. The ‘build – collect – convert’ approach shows that the sanitation crisis can be solved in a sustainable manner.

 

For the comfort and convenience of users, the toilet cubicles include a handwashing station with soap, water and a bin for feminine hygiene. The toilets are installed with individual waste storage cartridges that separate solid and liquid waste. The waste is removed by trucks and smaller handcarts to ensure that narrow and unpaved roads in deep urban slums can be accessed. The collected waste provides reliable, affordable and sustainable fertilizer to Kenyan farmers to increase soil health and crop yield.

 

Additionally, the project sets out a sustainable business model for locals. The cubicles are built with local materials and by local workers, often slum dwellers. The Fresh Life Toilets are franchised to residents who run them as viable businesses (charging customers around $0.05 USD per use). The so-called Fresh Life Operators receive business management and operations training. The Fresh Life programme has already created around 300 sustainable jobs.

Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 15 – Life on land
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