Our Summer Pilot

Sanergy aims to build and scale viable sanitation infrastructure in the slums throughout Kenya, Africa, and the developing world. We will create a network of franchised low-cost sanitation centers, collect the waste from these centers, and process it into electricity and fertilizer at our central processing facility. But that’s the very long term.This summer, our goals are bit more modest but, as we’re discovering, no less challenging: Build two sanitation centers in Nairobi’s slums, work out the operational kinks on the collection route for each center, and process the waste by applying a urea solution to it.Step 1: Create a comprehensive design for a low-cost, small-footprint sanitation center adapted to local conditions and user preference. No problem, right? To aid the design process, we’ve supplemented MIT’s mens et manus with some hands-on training in ferrocement in Nicaragua’s EcoTec.

Step 2: Work with a community group to identify two pilot sites. Done and done. We’re thrilled that, through partnership Carolina for Kibera, we’ll be building in Soweto West and, through Bridge International Academies, we’ll be building in Lunga Lunga.

Step 3: Build the sanitation centers. From local materials and unskilled labor. This challenge has led us to develop an intense relationship wiith the city’s industrial areas along Mombasa Road and the informal markets at Gikomba and Jua Kali.

Step 4: Identify operators to run the sanitation centers, collection routes and processing sites. We’ve begun conversation through our community partners and hope to have our first operators confirmed soon.

Step 5: Establish standard operating procedures. This week, we’ll be learning from cleaning experts SC Johnson, apprenticing with their subsidiary Community Cleaning Services. Once we’ve completed construction of our sanitation centers, we’ll begin training the operators in a thorough yet efficient system that will deliver the best user experience possible.

Of course, this is only the beginning. Through the end of the year, we’ll be gathering user feedback to revise the design and operating procedures for the next phase. Before we’re ready for feedback and revisions, though, we still have an adventurous summer ahead.


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