A value chain by which urine can be collected and refined into a natural fertiliser.
In 2008 Design without Borders (DwB) started discussions with organisations and NGOs in Uganda investigating solutions to address sanitation issues. This led to collaboration with the local plastic producer Crestanks. Investigations uncovered a need to meet the issue more holistically, contextualising products in a value chain. In cooperation with the foundation Sustainable Sanitation Design (SuSan Design), DwB started development of a value chain up-cycling urine to valuable fertilisers.
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Empowerment, Energy, Environment, Health, Urbanization, Water
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The solution involves a product for collecting and storing urine in homes and building a value chain to collect, store and sell urine as a fertiliser. The Unisex Urinal is an adaptable funnel connecting to locally available jerrycans. To develop a sustainable solution it was crucial to involve the target community in the process. Design without Borders designed a low-cost unisex urinal for domestic use by a 16-month participatory design process led by designer Sarah Keller, in collaboration with Crestanks. The unisex urinal prevents odour, takes up little space and requires minimal maintenance. A pricetag of <USD 3,- makes it affordable for ordinary citizens in slums. The urinal retains the nutrients in the urine, enabling refinement into fertiliser by storage. The product is developed to low scale production and tested among women in Nairobi by SuSan Design. SuSan Design has together with GIZ (German Development Agency) done market research indicating high urine value in Uganda.
Initial investigations uncovered the need to think about the issue more systematically and led to the solution of setting up a value chain by which urine can be collected and refined into a natural fertiliser. In order to develop a sustainable solution it was crucial to involve the target community in the development process. Crestanks Limited and Design without Borders designed a low-cost urinal for domestic use through a 16-month participatory design process. The urinal prevents odour, takes up little space and requires minimal maintenance. Production costs are low and the product is affordable for ordinary citizens in slum areas. The urinal retains the nutrients in the urine, so that it can be refined into high quality fertiliser by means of a simple process.
One of the most significant sources of disease in slum areas around the world is the lack of good sanitation solutions. In several districts of Uganda’s capital Kampala, on average more than 1000 people have to share the same toilet. Urine and excrement from public toilets is emptied directly onto the streets or into open sewers that run through residential areas. From there, the waste seeps down into the ground¬water, ending up in wells, or in other places where it will come into contact with people. The spread of faecal bacteria is the source of 80 per cent of the illnesses in slum areas. An addi¬tional problem is that women and children risk assault and rape when they visit public toilets after dark. In 2008 Design without Borders started discus¬sions with various organisations and NGOs in Kampala with an eye towards investigating product solutions to address these issues. This led to a collaboration with the local plastic producer Crestanks Limited.
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Design Without Borders team by designer Sarah Kell
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