More than 2 billion people worldwide lack access to modern sanitation. Isabel Medem, 28, established X-Runner to help make a difference for the 3 million people in the slums of Lima, Peru, affected by this issue.
Communities suffering from poor sanitation face serious health risks caused by polluted air and water, and the proliferation of disease-transmitting insects. But X-Runner offers a reliable, cost-effective solution for urban households without access to toilets.
The company has developed a waterless sanitation system which works without piping or sewers and costs users half as much as primitive pit latrines.
Clean, water-free toilets
In simple terms, it’s a dry toilet which collects human waste, providing householders with a cleaner, healthier environment. X-Runner teams then pick up the waste once a week, and transport it to a facility where it’s turned into nutrient-rich compost.
In July 2012, X‐Runner launched a 60‐family pilot project in a southern slum of Lima to validate the effectiveness of its product and service. Some 93% of users decided to keep the toilets and have been paying customers for over a year.
Now CEO Isabel is keen to build on this success, extending the X-Runner service to 15,000 households by 2018. It’s a move which would save 10 million litres of water every month, and collect more than 500 tonnes of human waste which would otherwise go into the ground.
Plans for expansion
Better still, this expansion could save households who install the product the equivalent of €148 per year, and directly benefit more than 75,000 individuals. Ultimately Isabel hopes X-Runner will become a scalable model which could meet the needs of the 72 million urban Latin Americans who still lack access to modern sanitation.
Isabel is a German-Peruvian, with a master’s degree in international business management from the European business school, ESCP‐EAP. She completed her studies in Vienna, London, Madrid and Paris, focusing on social and developmental issues.
*Isabel Medem, half Peruvian, half German, was born on the 27th of February 1985. She speaks four languages - German, English, Spanish, and French. Isabel studied International Business Administration at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration (2004-2006) and holds a Master s degree in European Management of the European School of Management (ESCP-EAP, 2006-2009), having written her thesis about Mobile Technology’s social and economic impact in Africa. In addition, Isabel was a Member of the Corporate Social Responsibility Society at the ESCP-EAP in London, focusing on energy efficiency,
with the aim of generating awareness for social responsibility in business at our school. During her studies, Isabel worked in several NGOs and microfinance organisations as an intern, such as Terre des Hommes, Village Exchange International Ghana, PlaNet Finance (Paris). After finishing her studies she worked at LFS Consulting/ AccessBank, a Microfinance consultancy and owner of microfinance banks (2010-2011, Tanzania and Madagascar). Isabel learned to dominate the company’s microlending technology (analysis of cases, disbursement of loans, recovery of loans in arrears) as well as its banking services, the development and assistance in introduction of mobile banking services to the bank in Tanzania, a consulting project to improve productivity in bank’s agencies by standardizing the credit
workflow, thus increasing the efficiency of each individual loan officer in Madagascar and the development and implementation of new banking software in Berlin and Tajikistan. In 2011 Isabel joined x-runner Venture. x-runner Venture is a social start-up that sells an instant and lasting sanitation solution to low-income, urban households that cannot have regular toilets. Isabel is CEO of x-runner and is responsible for the success of the next 500 toilet project. In addition, she is in charge of x-runner’s finances and the service hub operations. Her passion is getting the toilets into people’s houses and providing an excellent service that users appreciate and value.