IAP Investee - Sanitation Africa Ltd champions local solutions to sanitation challenges
Meet Samuel, a young entrepreneur on a mission to improve sanitation in slums.
Having grown up in one of Kampala's slums and experiencing first hand the problems associated with poor sanitation, Samuel Malinga the Founder of Sanitation Africa vowed to one day develop an effective and clean sludge management system. And that's exactly what Samuel did as soon as he graduated from Makerere University, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Engineering. In 2015, Samuel founded Sanitation Africa, and together with his team developed a full-cycle sanitation system addressing the whole chain of sludge management. The full-cycle system begins with a modular precast toilet, followed by a toilet emptying service and ends with the conversion of sludge into cooking briquettes. The toilets are constructed from reinforced, long-lasting concrete blocks that can easily be used in small congested areas. They are easy to construct, cheaper than the usual pits, can be constructed in phases, and can be modified to fit the needs of different users, for example, children with disabilities or people who are otherwise constrained by sickness or age.
Access to improved water and sanitation facilities does not, on its own, necessarily lead to improved health, something Samuel knows very well. “If you intend to create real impact when working in sanitation, you need to focus on more than just a good product. It’s more than constructing facilities and offering services, it’s addressing behavioural change through motivation, information, and education on the benefits of good sanitation,” he elaborates. Working together with local leaders, Samuel and his team are creating awareness, not only about their products and services, but on the importance of good sanitation in communities. His team consists of marketing officers that move from house to house and from school to school tackling both sanitation issues as well as menstrual hygiene management. To date, they have installed over 482 toilets, emptied 1,300 pits, and upgraded 400 toilets.
One of Sanitation Africa's newly constructed and branded toilet
Samuel receives his IAP grant dummy cheque from SNV Uganda Country Director
Samuel’s devotion to community development and his unwavering determination to create impact has started to pay off. In December 2015, he received the Tony Elumelu Prize for Business at the Future Africa award and was appointed as one of 17 UN young leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals in 2016. In late 2017, Sanitation Africa was selected as one of the 35 grantee winners under the SIDA funded Innovations Against Poverty (IAP) project being implemented by SNV in partnership with BoP Innovation Center and Inclusive Business Sweden. With the € 75,000 grant that he has won from IAP, Samuel intends to build over 800 toilet facilities, benefitting 4,000 people by 2020 and to reduce the frequency of waterborne illnesses by 90% among communities living in slums, rural areas, peri-urban, and landing sites. Most of these areas are innaccessible to cesspool trucks due to acute shortage of land and land ownership issues. Communities in the landing sites on the other hand are accustomed to open defecation because of the challenge of high water tables and collapsible soils. Samuel however is confident that they can overcome these challenges by working with communities to find local solutions to their sanitation challenges. Currently they are developing a system of micro-financing for sanitation that will enable the poorest communities to access financing to construct their own toilet facilities.
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