The Kampala Sanihub project – An investment in sanitation technologies , By Water For People

    Okumu Vincent
    • Public
    By Okumu Vincent in the group UWASNET Secretariat 902 days ago
    The Kampala Sanihub project – An investment in sanitation technologies , By Water For People

    Water For People a global non-profit with headquarters in the USA and a country office in Kampala aims at improving people’s quality of life by supporting the development of locally sustainable drinking water resources, sanitation services, health and hygiene education programs.

    Water For People has been working in Uganda since 2008. “We have been slowly working on developing new collection systems, pit emptying and treatment technologies in Kampala for the last two years and have learnt, through experience that the most effective way is integrating technology development into sanitation development,” says Cate Nimanya, the Country Director.

    The Kampala Sanihub project is a sanitation technology development initiative that was started by Water for People in collaboration with Engineers Without Borders based in the UK.

    In Uganda, the Sanihub project comprises of team members from different organizations and entrepreneurs making a living out of sanitation as a business, regulators from National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, research engineers, and students from Makerere University, Business Development Specialists and researchers from WATSAN Appropriate Technological Centre.

    A number of technologies have been developed under the Sanihub project namely;

    The Durasan toilet made of standard construction materials to ensure quality. Water for People collaborates with local masons to design, make and supply the materials to construct the Durasan toilet. This toilet is believed to be strong because of the material used.  

    Tin Latrine is one of the sanitation innovations made under the Sanihub project designed to cater for a lower end market. It is a toilet made of wood and a corrugated steel latrine structure.

    Flapper pan is a low cost plastic squatting pan with a counter weight tap produced by Sanitation Solutions. This was inspired to meet the World Health Organization (WHO) standards of covering toilets. With a flapper pan, toilets are covered, little quantities of water and less or no odor.

    Fabric latrine is made out of fabric and is designed for temporary settlements like refugee camps

    With over 90% of Uganda’s urban population dependent on on-site sanitation namely pit latrines and septic tanks, fecal sludge management is a viable option to explore.

    Cate says this inspired Water For People to look at sanitation as a business to inspire more investment in fecal sludge and in the process stop and prevent the contamination of water sources with fecal matter.

    In a number of areas in Uganda, fecal sludge management (collection, transportation, treatment and disposal) is a challenge for a number of reasons including

    • lack of access in informal settlements,
    • 50% of latrines in informal settlements have been abandoned while 30% are emptied into the environment
    • Inadequate fecal sludge transportation and treatment capacity
    • High fecal sludge emptying and transportation charges
    • Limited information on the spatial distribution and location of sanitation facilities
    • Unregulated fecal sludge collection and treatment services
    • Lack of reliable fecal sludge service information centers


    To address these challenges, Water For People is leading the way in fecal sludge management. The organization has a defast site (fecal sludge treatment plant) in Nyanama where fecal matter is transformed into functional and economically profitable products like briquettes, biogas and fertilizer.


    Water For People collects fecal matter from different sites in the city using cesspool trucks, gulpers and manual emptiers to the treatment plant.  The plant was created mainly using rota mould plastic tanks and has a capacity of 500liters of fecal sludge per day.

    Recently, UWASNET members under the Urban Water and Sanitation Working Group (UWSWG) visited Water For People to learn more on fecal sludge management.  

    Most of the members operate in urban areas and identified fecal sludge as one of the biggest sanitation challenges. Members were inspired to seek investments in fecal sludge and create awareness on its profitability as a business. They were inspired by Water For People Sanitation As A Business (SAAB) model. 


    For more information on the SAAB model click here