Sanergy, slum sanitation in Kenya

Main Text

Sanergy aims to improve sanitation in urban slums in Kenya by designing user friendly systems to increase usage and reduce cleaning costs. The company is taking an innovative approach to increase access to sanitation and waste management practices.

In Kenya’s slums, 8 million people lack access to adequate sanitation. Sanergy’s long term objective is to build and scale commercially and sustainably viable sanitation infrastructure in the slums of Nairobi.

Sanergy is taking an innovative systems-based approach to make hygienic sanitation accessible, affordable and sustainable by building out the entire sanitation chain. The business is a vertically integrated waste management system based on four parts.

  • Build a network of low-cost sanitation centres in slums
  • Distribute them through franchising to local entrepreneurs
  • Collect the waste produced
  • Process it into electricity and fertilizer

At each step, this model creates jobs and opportunity while simultaneously addressing the need for hygienic sanitation solutions amongst slum-dwellers.

This is Sanergy’s second IAP-project. Like the first IAP-project, this project is focusing primarily on user-interface development. A clean, private, and comfortable toilet experience drastically increases adoption of hygienic practices.

The first IAP grant demonstrated that thoughtful product design driven by insight derived from interaction with end-users is the most effective way to develop products that go beyond just meeting basic needs.

With this second grant, Sanergy will expand accessibility to other key customer segments that their current product does not address well, such as landlord or plot household toilets, peri-urban slums, elderly and disabled populations.

Another ambition is to further increase accessibility by introducing men’s specific urinals.

Project Updates

Progress since first grant: Sanergy has expanded operations, having launched 242 toilets run by 130 entrepreneurs in Mukuru. It has innovated toilet design to try new models providing sanitation in schools, in household plots, in areas with high water tables, and backfilling and replacing pit latrines. Sanergy has continued innovating to diversify by-products: purchasing equipment that will convert waste to fertilizer in one day, and experimenting with producing biochar, animal feed and biogas.

Sub-Saharan Africa
Water, Sanitation or Waste Management