Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Tin Latrine

We're not marketing it as the Tin Latrine but that's the loving name we've given it at Sanihub!

The problem that many people have is that they don't have a reliable latrine product to invest in so don't want to take the risk of saving up or taking out a loan. Masons, like builders all over the world, are notoriously unreliable and often leave a job half done. So to solve part of this problem we're developing latrine products like this one so that people know that they can buy something that is reliable and affordable.

The idea is that a carpenter can build the latrine from wooden planks and corrugated iron sheets in panels, as shown in the second picture. This can then be transported as a 'flat-pack' like an IKEA piece of furniture and sold through SACCOs (Micro-Finance Organisations in Uganda) to rural households. As we've semi-centralised the production process we can work with the carpenter to ensure consistency and improve the product in line with feedback from the customers.

We've currently got it in production in the Mbale District in Eastern Uganda and are supplying a couple of SACCOs who have a steady number of orders, but this can be improved! The structure costs 400,000-600,000 Ugandan Shillings ($150-$250) which can be afforded through a loan from the SACCO.

It's not perfect and it's not the end of development. But it's a good start to see how much people are willing to pay for their latrines and generate customer feedback to make better products.

The Gulper in the press

A few videos showing The Gulper in action with our partners at SAAB Uganda, Captiva Africa and over in Malawi.

The Standard Gulper

This is a Standard Gulper. It operates like a borehole pump or a tyre pump in reverse. At the bottom is a one way butterfly valve and on the plunging rod is another one way butterfly valve. You push the pump through the hole in the pit, pump and sludge rises up to the outlet. It's a simple design but it's currently one of the most reliable sludge pumps in the world. It only costs a couple of hundred dollars, it's fully manufactured in Uganda and the SAAB Team are using it to develop businesses that empty pits. So if a persons pit latrine is full they can have it partially emptied and continue using it.

Welcome to Sanihub

Sanihub is a project in Kampala, Uganda, run by Water For People and facilitated by Engineers from Engineers Without Borders UK. Our aim is to create simple and affordable goods and services that people on low incomes can afford to buy.

Currently we're working on new latrine designs, pumps to empty full pits, logistics systems to transport the sludge and cheaper treatment options. We're doing all of this with the Sanitation As A Business Programme so that people can make businesses that make money.

We look for a double win. Improve the quality of life of people with a low income by offering better goods and services whilst improving the quality of life of people in business by supporting them to start businesses.