Toilets For All

Toilets For All: Making eco-toilets affordable and accessible to poverty-stricken communities.

Stellenbosch, South AfricaKhayelitsha, South Africa
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Toilets For All brings affordable and eco-toilets to families of poverty-stricken communities. We aim to eradicate open defecation and clean up the environment simultaneously. Families trade litter collected for our eco-toilets with marketing sponsored by businesses.

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

What if we could eradicate open defecation and give people access to toilets?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Globally 2.5 billion people in emerging markets do not have access to sanitary sewage disposal, while 1 billion people are forced to resort to open defecation. It is directly linked to areas of inadequate infrastructure, high population densities and severe poverty. We are targeting families in the 19 major informal settlements with 1-4 million residents each that lack sanitation infrastructure and who's health are affected.

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

We intend to simultaneously solve the lack of toilets and communities filled with litter problems by turning litter into a currency that households can use to purchase their own personal toilets with. The business model is simple: Households join an incentive scheme where they collect litter in their community, and trade the bags of litter. Once they have accumulated a set amount of litter bags (current estimates are at 150 bags), we grant them a toilet. Because of inadequate infrastructure, a unique solution is required. An all-in-one portable plastic eco-toilet has been designed to be more affordable, durable, mobile, greener and healthier to use than current alternatives. More information will be available in our provisional patent.


International Mazars For Good Innovation Award; African Rethink Award by Land of African Businesses.
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 premise is simple; incentivising the collection of litter, allowing people to become part of their own solution by cleaning up their environment and, then being enabled to trade the litter for the ownership of an eco-toilets. The design entails a urine-diverting composting system that diverts the waste into liquids and solids. The diverting system allows for a more effective use of water and environmentally friendly recycling of the waste. The liquid waste is then recycled by, for instance, pharmaceutical companies who reuse the nitrogen and ammonia while the solid waste is used for composting, possibly in local community food gardens. The goal is to provide accessible, healthy, dignified and private facilities to those who need them.

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

Currently, we are busy prototyping and patenting our unique eco-toilet design and have only impacted the local community through interviews and our video documentary. Our idea has the potential to improve the current situation of the bottom of pyramid in the following ways: (1) making toilet ownership affordable; (2) reduce open defecation; (3) mobilize people to become part of their own solution; (4) cleansing the community of litter; (5) improve the accessibility of toilets that are clean and safe; (6) improve the quality life of people and restore their dignity. According to UNICEF, every €1 spent on water and sanitation generates a return of €5-8 in saved time, increased productivity and reduced health costs. Furthermore, we are targeting families with an average of 6 family members making the scale of the impact exponentially greater and more important to do so.

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

Final stages provisional patent. Once completed, prototyping and small batch field testing will commence, while filling divisional patents. We will also develop an online platform that allows poverty-stricken people to register with their Identification-Document and enables them to trade collected litter for essentials and commodities. We aim to establish a brand of collaborating companies supporting social good registered on the platform. Once our eco-toilet completed its field trails, we will offer it as a commodity to poverty-stricken people through awareness campaigns in the community.

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

Our main customers are businesses that want to advertise to the bottom-of-the-pyramid and desires tax benefits by making donations and increasing their social responsibility portfolio. Our secondary customer is the local municipalities which we will approach to help infrastructure development programmes. Other revenue streams are the general public through crowdfunding campaigns through the sale of locally crafted accessories and art.

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

Our four biggest competitors are Envirosan, Enviro Loo, Peepoople (toilet bags) and Blue Diversion. In South Africa, Envirosan and Enviro Loo have eco-toilets, but their target markets are not informal settlements. From a similar design and solution, Envirosan and Blue Diversion is the closest to our eco-toilet design. However, our eco-toilets are more affordable, portable, durable and healthier to use than existing alternatives. Blue Diversion is similar market, but targets public toilets and have a franchise business model with a much more expensive eco-toilet.

Founding Story

Every day we drive past Khayelitsha (40km by 40km region) and we see the dismal situation that over 3 million South Africans are facing. After more news headlines about the “Ses’khona members” (Poo-Throwers), Gerard and Matt discussed it over a cup of coffee. Initial toilet designs were made, but the everything was too expensive and complicating! They can't afford it, but nothing good comes from getting something for free. The aha moment was, let them pay for the toilets by cleaning up their own community. After more research and interviews, we developed a low cost and eco-friendly toilet that caters for the needs of families. Now were in the process of prototyping and patenting.


Current team consists out of the three co-founders, Matt Pretorius, Gerard Ungerer and Jade Hubner. The team's composition and roles in Toilets For All are as follows: (1). Matt Pretorius is the entrepreneur and interim CEO of Toilets For All on a full-time basis. He has a BEng in Civil Engineering and is currently completing his PhD in Industrial Engineering (expected completion in 2016). He brought the team together and has exciting experience in starting companies with some successes and failures. (2). Gerard Ungerer is the online platform consultant on a part-time basis. He has a BEng in Industrial Engineering and has completed his PhD in Industrial Engineering. He has worked as a consultant to numerous companies and his main role is to help develop the online currency platform. (3). Jade Hubner is the marketing and sales manager on a part-time basis. She is currently a BCom Student in Marketing and working as a lifestyle presenter on magazine television show, Top Billing. We are currently looking for board members that are experienced in social change initiatives, but other board members with a strong corporate network to assist with corporate sponsorship raising and sales. We are also currently looking to employ three full-time employees with the following expertise: (1). Website Developer with specific expertise in HTLM5 programming and developing a customer-relationship management platform. (2). Software Engineer with specific expertise in integrating online platforms with mobile technology (i.e. push and pull messages system - similar to SMS/mobile banking). (3). Graphic Designer with some marketing and branding experience. Potential candidates are already lined up and will be interviewed shortly.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Social Media of Unilever

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

Co-Founder and Entrepreneur (Interim CEO)

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]

No Poverty, Clean Water and Sanitation, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

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

In Oct 2012, I founded a social enterprise Pitchin South Africa, which was a dynamic open pitching platform for young entrepreneurs and students that ran every month. With our success at Stellenbosch University, we exited to Innovus technology transfer office to for a platform for their newly developed business incubator, the LaunchLab. I had numerous roles in coordination of this transition over a 15 month period. Since early 2012, I consulted on a part-time, project basis for Knowledge Econimix (family owned company) working on three projects, Stroketech, African Wild Honey and Cairo Suspensions. The work entailed anything from market research and analysis through to prototyping and product design, while other work-related activities included strategy formulation, branding, public relations, fund raising and patenting. My most pioneering work relates to Stroketech (bone-conduction headset technology for sporting athletes and coaching) where I successfully helped raise funding, develop three prototypes and it is currently in its final stages of product development.

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

We have community collaboration with the Helderberg Street People Center, School of Public Leadership (Stellenbosch University) and TOMO Communications (Khayelitsha) that are channels we are using to implement market research and eventually our pilot study. We have raised service sponsorship from the Industrial Eng. Dept. (SU), J8ded media, Frequency Audio & TImeslice Cinematography to help develop video documentaries and market research. Our unique eco-toilet design is being patented by Von Seidel Attorneys, while we have a signed optional licence for future product development with Innovus (SU). We have also been selected part of Common (Collaborative Mark), based in the USA, which are providing branding and communication mentorship on the values of social enterprises.