Can Pay Toilets Save Lives?

….the transformation, restoration and sustainability of social dignity in our ever growing urban population.

Providing pay toilets in schools, slums and cities may not seem like a revolutionary idea. But when you consider that 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation and that 1.5 million children perish annually as a result- and that 2008 marked the year when 50% of the population resides in cities (which could rise to 5 billion in 2030 per UNFPA)- it’s literally a life saving concept with great future implications.

This is why, Ecotact, provider of the Ikotoilet, describes its mission as going beyond simply providing low fee public sanitation facilities, to creating a social transformation in attitudes toward public sanitation, including an emphasis on design, convenience, and conservation.

Ecotact has been awarded prizes for its environmental impact with the 2010 Dubai International Best Practice Award to Improve the Living Environment, as well as for its social impact from the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) for promoting large scale behavior change and tangible impact in the area of sanitation in Kenya.

 How it works:

Ecotact, Ltd, founded by Kenyan Entrepreneur, David Kuria, partners with organizations specializing in sanitation innovation such as Safaricom, and the World Toilet Organization, to provide proper infrastructure for the pay shower and toilet facilities, and then with local public water and sanitation municipalities, to provide the sanitation element.

 From the Ecotact website:

“The project implementation strives to achieve objectives such as: providing convenient, highly hygienic and sustainable water and sanitation services to urban centers; conserving diminishing natural resources as well as conserving public health; influencing a policy shift in the governance of municipalities in relation to the provision of water and sanitation services; transforming, restoring and ensuring sustainability of social dignity in the growing urban populations; and revolutionizing people’s perceptions towards toilets as well as environmental and sanitation awareness.”

Impact:

Ecotact, and Mr. Kuria have completed construction of 40 facilities in 12 Municipalities in Kenya that provide an average of 300,000 people daily, with safe water and sanitation, In addition Ecotact has created 100 jobs for local Kenyans. Ecotact plans to expand next into Tanzania and Uganda.

A Social Enterprise model will assist Ecotact, Ltd in scaling up this operation.

Ecotact plans to establish franchise opportunities as it scales up across East Africa that will target youth- in the hopes of not only providing sanitation, but by providing the country with sanitation entrepreneurs. Toward this goal, Ecotact has received support from the Government of Kenya, Athi Water Services Board, and the Ministry of Youth Affairs.

Information and Media from Ecotact website @: http://www.ecotact.org/

Population information from The United Nations Population Fund website @: http://www.unfpa.org/pds/urbanization.htm

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