Sanergy - Sustainable Sanitation in Urban Slums
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010 - $49,900
Nearly three billion people worldwide lack access to adequate sanitation, and in slums, where over one billion live, high population densities combined with a lack of infrastructure and resources makes the problem particularly acute.
Over the past year, the Sustainable Sanitation in Urban Slums team at MIT, now Sanergy, designed, constructed and implemented a pilot modular low-cost sanitation facility customized for the residents of two slums in Nairobi, Kenya. Two low-cost technologies are the centerpiece: a (<$200) prefabricated ferrocement toilet (versus $25,000 solutions at present) and a bicycle-powered exhaustion pump for pit latrines. These technologies are combined with a holistic deployment strategy: a micro-franchised network of sanitation centers, low-cost waste collection infrastructure, and a centralized processing facility that converts waste into biogas, electricity, and fertilizer that is sold commercially.
The team is partnered with Carolina for Kibera, a US NGO set up specifically in the Kibera slum of Nairobi and Ikotoilet, an Acumen Fund grantee. The NCIIA grant will enable the team to improve the sanitation facility design, establish a fabrication workshop in Nairobi, train local workers, and expand the pilot to validate the program and product.
Updates: As of October 2012, the team continues to reach towards hygienic, accessible, affordable sanitation for everyone in Nairobi's urban slums. In the last month, they have: sold 103 Fresh Life Toilets and franchised to 50 entrepreneurs; created 122 jobs; removed 170 metric tons of waste from the community; and served 1,000,000 paying customers with hygienic sanitation.
- Sanergy was featured in Voice of America (September 2012)
- Sanergy won the inaugural Sustainable Practice Impact Award at Open 2013, NCIIA's annual conference (March 2013)
- Sanergy co-founder Nathan Cooke was interviewed in Smartplanet (April 2013)
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