Circular sanitation for rural households | Meet a hackathon champion

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A three phase picture showing how the vetiver works and what it looks like

With applications still open for our FINISH Mondial SanTech Hackathon today we celebrate one of our previous inspiring hackathon champions. Meet Edwin Mariita, winner – with the Opero Services team – of the 2020 SanTech Hackathon.

Edwin Mariita and his team from Opero Services won the first and the second prize in the 2020 Santech Hackathon. They convinced the jury with not one, but two sanitation innovations that significantly reduce the cost of constructing and maintaining a sanitation system in rural contexts.

In Western Kenya, where Opero Services is based, safe sanitation coverage remains low. The high maintenance costs of traditional pit latrines, which need frequent desludging, is one of the factors contributing to the common situation that households tend to not set enough money aside for desludging and toilets become unusable over time.

The vetiver latrine, designed by Edwin and his team, tackles this challenge by offering a green and circular toilet design. The innovation, equipped with a SATO pan, safely contains and treats human waste, while at the same time reusing the nutrients and liquids contained in the waste to feed a bed of vetiver grass, a much-appreciated by-product, used by many Kenyan households as cattle feed and for thatching.  Edwin and his team also designed some recycled plastic moulds that significantly reduce the cost of building toilets.

Below is a snapshot from Erwin Mariita of this brilliant innovation! If you want to learn more listen in to Edwin’s full interview here.

If you are inspired by this story and have groundbreaking sustainable ideas you want to share to bring real change then look no further than our next Hackathon. This year’s theme is innovation in Innovation in Greywater Recycling for Small-Scale Agriculture and we are welcoming applications now. Find out more here and apply today. – you have just one week left to apply so there is no time to delay!

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