Low cost technologies for faecal sludge management

Low cost technologies for faecal sludge management: Innovative DuraSan latrine, Semi mechanised pit Emptying, treatment and reuse

Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The project addresses the entire faecal sludge management chain. We have developed a new modular latrine called DuraSan, (made up of durable, interlocking, precast concrete blocks), a low-cost pit emptying pump called a Rammer, Treatment Plant, and process briquettes from dried faecal sludge.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the next generation billionaire is a poo entrepreneur?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Over 95% of Ugandan population heavily use on site sanitation facilities with 12 waste water treatment plants of which only 3 are conventional and are overloaded. On average during rainy season, 60% of pits are always full in Kampala City . Also in Kampala about 1500m3 of faecal sludge is collectible yet approximately 400m3 is collected. Vacuum tankers don’t access some areas, can’t completely de-sludge and not affordable to some communities.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The DuraSan toilet provides quality sanitation. It is long-lasting, it can be deployed using a sanitation loan obtained from microfinance institutions (MFIs) (since it can readily be disassembled and removed if a client fails to pay), and it avoids the common problems of other latrines arising poor workmanship, delays by masons and over-charging. The Rammer makes it possible for full pits (both lined and unlined) in informal settlements to be emptied in an acceptable sanitary manner, Rammer can be carried down through a narrow alley . The Decentralized Faecal Sludge Treatment System (DFSTS) for treatment of faecal sludge in areas lacking treatment plants & solves the problem of long distances. Briquettes provide alternative energy source


http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/news-releases/2014/october/meet-twelve-of-the-most-promisingtechnology- entre
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The DuraSan toilets is a modular structure made out of precast concrete blocks. It is cost effective, easy to install, eliminates poor workmanship of mansions and provides a good platform for customers to get it through loans. The DurSan comes with substructures that solves problems of high water table, collapsible soils, rocky areas, termite prone areas. The Emptying device is locally fabricated and affordable, capable of pumping viscous sludge, easy to operate, cleaner, goes deeper into the pit and minimizes spillage of sludge. The transportation devices aid the movement of sludge barrels in the narrow paths of slums to a collection area for further transportation to disposal sites. DFSTS is used in areas lacking treatment plants

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The project has benefited people in different categories ranging from fabricators, contractors, entrepreneurs to Research and development engineers. The project is contributing significantly to the public health of the area e.g the current pit entrepreneurs currently account for 6% of all sludge emptied in Kampala. The communities are now able to reuse their pits. Since October 2014, we have constructed 350 DuraSan toilets in communities which has improved access to desirable sanitation facilities. DuraSan is durable and encourages emptying and reuse. We have sold the rammers to Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania and locally. In Kitgum, Mbarara, and recently Kamwenge people have formed pit emptying businesses. During Kampala Sanitation week March 2015, we extracted 250 barrels of 250L capacity using rammer from slums. Latrine production in Masaka is ongoing, assessing Soroti

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

All rural growth centers and towns in Uganda should access our products i.e. the DuraSan latrine (cleanable, emptyable, sealable, & durable), pit emptying business, and low cost treatment plants. To improve faecal sludge collection in Kampala by pit entrepreneurs to 30%. We plan to set up franchise in every region of Uganda where people can access our services. We expect over 200 people to be employed in this business, with the biggest fraction being entrepreneurs whose wages will come from the profit they make. Target is to have 20 outlets in Uganda by 2020, get partners in Kenya, S.Sudan

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The sale of DuraSan generates 25% profit margin. The sales of rammer also bring revenue to the business. In pit emptying, we have Pick up hiring model & Leasing model of tricyles with emptying equipment. The entrepreneurs are charged $48 per day for pick Up hire model, $1200 for triclyce lease of 6 months. DFSTS is sustained by charging a dumping fee and selling its products like briquettes to poultry farmers & households

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Private cesspool emptiers and KCCA are mainly using vacuum tankers for emptying which are faced with inaccessibility and unable to desludge in-situ pit sludge. This project is unique in that it addresses challenges of latrine structures, more viscous pit latrine sludge and inaccessibility, lack of decentralised treatment systems. The demand for pit emptying services is clear, there is also an untapped market for bio fuels. Industries such as Uganda Clays currently import biofuel from Tanzania to heat their clay brick kilns. Locally captured and dried pit sludge could provide a cheaper option.

Founding Story

Our upbringing in the slums in Kampala made us see the sanitation challenges many individuals face when their pit latrines got full with no space for digging new pit latrines. There are limited solutions for emptying these pits and yet households continue to use them in that state exposing them to sanitation-related disease. Given our engineering background, we came together to research and develop technologies to help our communities to improve their sanitation. Training some community members to use these technologies has created employment for them as they get paid for emptying pits making them usable again hence better sanitation.


The team comprises three engineers, business Development Manager, market promoters, masons, artisans, secretary. We have successfully managed to combine our capabilities to solve one of the most pressing needs of our society, namely full pits in unplanned settlements. We develop technologies that are people centered and design business models for each. We construct, supervise and train fabricators of the DuraSan latrine and new entrepreneurs on operation and maintenance of the rammer. Strong business models have been set up with clear financial projections. We will recruit marketers as we continue to grow and they will be paid a commission per latrine sold
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

email from Isabela Carvalho, twitter, and Facebook

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:


Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Clean Water and Sanitation.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

1. Paper bag making business to replace use of polythene
2. Poultry breeding and fruit tree planting (Very strong and a model farm in Eastern Uganda)
3. Dairy farming

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Active sales persons


I really like businesses like this, and follow others in the industry (Sanivation, PivotWorks, Sanergy, etc.) I know that they have all had issues with logistics around collections of material and getting the price point low enough to be affordable; how have you addressed these, and what is your unique competitive advantage that sets your organization apart? Is it the toilet itself, or is it the distribution model around it?