Toilets Making a Difference at Clinton Global Initiative
NEW YORK, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ — Open defecation and flying toilet still remain the predominant methods of human waste disposal in urban slums, a situation that offers great planning, health and socioeconomic challenges to governments and development partners. Nearly a billion people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion people lack access to sanitation (half of whom must defecate in the open due to lack of infrastructure development). To combat this problem, Ecotact announced a new commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative this week to invest in a total of 100 Ikotoilet facilities in the next one year in fifteen selected municipalities in Kenya and Zanzibar. The commitment total will be $2 million. This commitment announced by President Clinton and Ecotact CEO David Kuria is expected to serve at least 300,000 people daily with safe water and sanitation and create a pool of 1000 employees by next year.
“It is the toilet that makes a difference in terms of social, economic and political transformation of our societies. So we’ve created a ‘toilet mall’ concept to connect businesses with toilets to ensure sustainability. In Nairobi today we are selling soda and snacks in the toilet and the profits go to maintain the business,” said David Kuria, CEO of Ecotact. “We are trying to make sanitation sexy and beautiful to change our personal relationship with the toilet and guarantee sustained behavior change. Today 30,000 people per day are using our facilities in Nairobi. We also engage the political establishment to lobby for increased financing for sanitation by governments and development partners,” continued Kuria.
The Ikotoilet model aims to increase access to safe water and sanitation for the urban poor in Kenya and the region. Project implementation strives to achieve objectives such as: providing convenient, highly hygienic and sustainable water and sanitation services to urban centres; creating employment opportunities for youth; 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.
This is a new idea on social transformation and David Kuria was granted the Africa Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 award by the World Economic Forum for this thinking.
The concept has stimulated demand across East Africa and new programs will soon start in Tanzania and Uganda. As they scale-up, Ecotact has finalized an Ikotoilet youth franchise incubation model that will generate young entrepreneurs in sanitation.
Sanitation is currently one of the greatest challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa in meeting the Millennium Developments Goals Targets under the MDGs. The Report of the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) of the WHO and UNICEF in 2004 highlighted that the number of people lacking basic sanitation services rose from 2.1 billion in 2001 to 2.6 billion by 2004. In Kenya only 46% of 34 million Kenyans have access to adequate sanitation and the current diarrhea outbreak is costing 20 deaths weekly (May 2009). This problem is significantly affecting the urban poor, who live in mainly polluted environments in urban slums.
About Ecotact Ltd – Innovating Sanitation
The Ikotoilet project is based on the ecological sanitation concept that ensures optimizing utility and design values of urban sanitation. The project is a private/public partnership between Ecotact Ltd (private sector) and the respective local authority, and water and sewerage utilities (public sector) all geared towards provision of hygienic public utilities. The project is borne out of the reality of an increasing lack of public conveniences. Where they exist, the conditions are in a pathetic hygienic state, coupled with significant pollution and accompanied by poor maintenance.
About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 100 current and former heads of state, 14 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 1,400 commitments valued at $46 billion, which have already improved the lives of 200 million people in 150 countries. Commitments made at the 2008 Annual Meeting are expected to affect almost 160 million people. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship; and MyCommitment.org, an online portal where anybody can make their own Commitment to Action. CGI will hold its Fifth Annual Meeting September 22-25, 2009, in New York City. For more information, visit http://www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.