In this article, SNV profiles one of the IAP Investees and how the company has impacted communities at the bottom of the pyramid.
Private sector development has proven to be a real catalyst of social and economic development. By thinking innovatively, companies can develop business ideas that solve social and environmental issues while at the same time maximising their competitiveness and profitability. This is what the SNV Innovations Against Poverty (IAP) project is anchored on. One of the IAP success cases is Sanitation Africa, a Ugandan company that designs innovative toilet solutions for areas that are otherwise hard to reach or congested such as slums and rural areas. With IAP grant and business advisory support services, Sanitation Africa, improved its financial management system and revamped its marketing and distribution plan. Subsequently the company was able to expand its operations from serving Kampala and its suburbs to opening outlets upcountry in Masaka, Kumi and Soroti. To date, the company has constructed 1,524 toilet stance latrines, upgraded 1,275 latrines into fresh facilities (latrines with no smell), emptied 1,780 latrines and installed 974 handwashing facilities in schools and households, benefiting over 30,000 people. Sanitation Africa also created additional jobs for over 70 youth in sales and marketing, transport and masonry.
With the IAP grant, Sanitation Africa was able to procure two additional trucks for faecal sludge emptying, two concrete mixers, a vibrator for making toilet moulds, moulds for making blocks and ring liners. The company also expanded and built its networks and partnerships in the sanitation community. Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) contracted them to train sludge emptors and invited them to contribute to the development of Standard Operating Procedures for faecal sludge emptying.
Samuel Malinga, the Managing Director credits the support from the IAP Project for the growth that the company has witnessed in the last one and a half years. “The IAP support has been a great boost to us. Many opportunities have come to us because we were better prepared to take advantage of them and this we credit to a great extent to IAP,” Sam said. At the onset of COVID 19, the company realised a new business opportunity to solve a social heath concern for health workers in rural health centres. They developed affordable reusable face masks to protect health workers against the COVID-19 virus. To date the company has sold 600 face masks to two health centres in Eastern Uganda for their frontline staff.
Sanitation Africa is currently partnering with a UK based NGO, Teams4U to construct handwashing facilitates in primary schools and health centres in Kumi. During the country wide lockdown, the company constructed 27 handwashing facilities for 25 schools and 2 health centres as a result of the partnership and are exploring the possibility of constructing more handwashing facilities for health centres.
“The IAP partnership has built credibility for us as a business among other sanitation actors. We are now trusted by many stakeholders like the local governments of Kumi, Soroti, Buikwe as well as KCCA, Embassies, and NGOs in handling emptying, construction, hand wash projects, and other sanitation related activities” Samuel added. The company aims to become a brand leader, creating sustainable and dignified sanitation solutions so that no one dies or suffers from sanitation and water borne diseases.
Innovations Against Poverty (IAP) is a specialised fund project that challenges private sector companies to develop innovative and inclusive business models, products, and services that benefit low income people and contribute to environmental sustainability. The IAP project is funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
For more about the IAP project