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Improvement of the access to good sanitation infrastructures in rural communities in Biharamulo district.

Photo of Jonathan Nkungu

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Over 95% of rural households in Biharamulo district lack access to an improved sanitation facility. This is mainly due to the fact that most of families cannot afford to pay for the construction of the new latrines at once. As a result, open defecation practices are commonplace. The available latrines are prone to collapse due to the lack of a pit lining and weakly constructed slab-using trees as a squatting slab, banana tree bark as walling materials and with no roofing materials and doors. Thus these latrines offer poor privacy, safety, prestige and health for latrine users during a day and night time. Traditional, unimproved pit latrines which when filled are covered and moved to a new location; continue to reduce the land available for sanitation facilities. This situation has a direct impact on the health of the people. The contamination of water resources, soil, and food by human excreta is a major cause of diarrhea. The poor latrine safety also creates additional risks for women, children, and vulnerable groups to experience danger, shame, sexual harassment and assault when defecating at night and in distant areas.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

The recently geographical focus area of operation for our SANI-INITIATIVE project is in Biharamulo district in the North West part of Tanzania- targeting the four rural villages. Many households in the rural areas of Biharamulo district don’t have sufficient cash in hand to upgrade sanitation systems, but can afford the cost if they are able to spread the cost over time.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

This project aims to sustainably improve the health and livelihoods of the four underprivileged communities, in the rural Biharamulo District, thanks to access to sanitation facilities. More specifically in each community rural women will be equipped with entrepreneurship skills and capital to set up small business. This empower consumers especially women to easily purchase a range of context-appropriate sanitation products that can adapt to the specific needs and desires of their users.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

The SANI-INIATIVE primarily goal is to facilitate the transition from traditional latrines to improved latrines in rural areas by designing a transitional latrine that can be upgradeable. Good sanitation is vital for good health and for wealth creation as well. Many households in the rural areas of Biharamulo district don’t have sufficient cash in hand to upgrade sanitation systems, but can afford the cost if they are able to spread the cost over time. In the backdrop of prevailing high rate of unhygienic toilet which is about 95%, SANI-INITIATIVE has decided using a participatory rotational fund scheme for promoting expansion of hygienic toilets for low income rural communities. This helps us to overcome the discontinuation of subsidies, lack of business skills, and the view that sanitation is not a profitable business.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

The SANI-INITIATIVE will provide wide range of health benefits (reduce the rate of diseases associated with sanitation issues such as UTI and Diarrhea) amongst children’s aged 5-14 years old, women and elderly people, reduction of time spent searching for the place to defecate, protection of water resources and community members free from open defecation. The SANI-INITIATIVE will also facilitate entrepreneurship training targeting 500 rural women, equipping them with capital to set up small businesses, provide career guidance and latrine building skills for the 50 local masons in the community that will be employed during the construction and maintenance of latrines. That way, the lives of 1000’s community members including 100’s children under the age of five years would be improved through the reduction of diarrhea diseases spread by poor hygiene and open defecation.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

The SANI-INITIATIVE project is helping enough to tackle the sanitation issues (poor pit latrine construction and maintenance, lack of hygiene awareness) sustainably facing my rural community of Biharamulo district, Tanzania. This project offers affordable latrines with great safety, privacy and prestige to be used by all groups including women, elderly and disabled people and would provide access to an integrated health and hygiene education. Since inception 2018, SANI-INITIATIVE has touched on a number of lives through its various programs; over 30 youths received career guidance and latrine building skills, 350 rural women equipped with entrepreneurship training’s, 10 improved latrines built and a total of 1000 local community received training concerning sanitation and hygiene practices.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

Biharamulo district is a predominantly rural area; in the western part of Tanzania with 90% of rural households depend on agriculture for survival and as for village economies. The main source of income for most rural households is the sale of farm products, especially cassava, maize, banana, rice, groundnuts, vegetables, coffee and livestock products. The main sideline is charcoal burning which eventually leads to environmental deforestation. Due to low productivity, market access, entrepreneur skills, credit access support, food crops when grown in surplus, are traded locally and get sold in lower price leading to poverty cycle in most family households. The focus of the SANI-INITIATIVE is to work from rural community level to achieve socially, economically and environmentally secure livelihoods and increase the wealth-creating foundations for the household moving out of poverty while also improve the health of community with better access of affordable sanitation facilities.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

The SANI-INITIATIVE primary goal is to improve the poor sanitation condition among low-income households in Biharamulo district. The SANI-INITIATIVE works with the help of local masons, become trained on latrine design and construction guidelines so as to tailor the transitional latrine design to the household’s specific requirements and available resources. Through personalized conversation with the customer, the local masons help the customer identify all issues he or she is encountering as a result of not having a toilet. To further reduce the upfront cost of the latrine, the design also is upgradeable, enabling the household with limited resources to start with a basic improved latrine and as they are able to pay, to later upgrade the structure in terms of durability, privacy and status. The SANI-INITIATIVE main approach focuses to create a durable substructure (i.e. pit, pit lining, and slab) with a superstructure that can be improved over time.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

Through the SANI-INITIATIVE project, the organization has strongly built effective collaboration with several partnering organization at district and national level such as district local government bodies, local leaders and community’s members (villagers), young water solutions and the pollination project foundation to ensure effective implementation and replication of the franchise modal to other rural areas across Biharamulo district- leading to open-defecation free. In the near future, we hope to partner with the Eleanor Foundation, Cambridge Development Initiative, Health Promotion Tanzania, DOT Tanzania and TOKYO – LIXIL Corporation (LIXIL) to create a wider social impact. We aim to collaborate on a global scale while co-designing appropriate solutions that will inspire, empower and build more prosperous, secure and inclusive communities, together helping building a strong and resilient economy to attain a sustainable development of the people in Tanzania,

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Other

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Channel: A new way to deliver existing products or services to customers or end users

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Pilot: We have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users. The feasibility of an innovation is tested in a small-scale and real world application (i.e. 3-15% of the target population)

Group or Organization Name

Environmental Health Ecology and Decentralized Sanitation (EEDS)

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

The Environmental Health Ecology and Decentralized Sanitation (EEDS) is a non-profit registered organization under the NGO Act, 2002 with registration No. 00007914 to operate within the area of Tanzania Mainland. Since its foundation in 2015, EEDS has gone on to work- implementing long term development programmes, helping people to achieve major and long-lasting improvement in their lives.EEDS conducts itself in a manner that is free of racial discrimination to continually improve capacity building into action through programs, focus on Environmental Conservation Stewardship, Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, Health and nutrition, Gender equality and Community Livelihoods-helping building a strong and resilient economy to attain a sustainable development of the people. EEDS is now recognized both nationally and internationally.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State



Join the conversation:

Photo of Senator Owuala

Hi @Jonathan Nkungu,

It feels so great to know that one of the competing idea on this challenge is speaking about the health and sanitation of the individuals in refugee camps. Goodluck on your endeavours.

Senator Owuala

Photo of Jonathan Nkungu

Thank you Senator Owuala,
We trying our level best to ensure easy accessibility of improved latrines to low income communities in franchise modal in order to create a wider social impact in Tanzania.

Photo of Mark Capron

Dear Johathan,
Consider coordinating with:
Kagalula with "Bamboo Water Tank" because your permanent, convenient, urine collecting, and nice smelling toilets don't need to involve concrete tanks.
I suspect the bamboo tanks need a plastic liner. (And a plastic liners generally need structural support.) The structural support might be: above-grade bamboo; reinforced earth berms (near vertical); un-reinforced earth (mound of dirt); or water contained by AquaDam:

Photo of Jonathan Nkungu

Thank you Mark Capron for your positive insightful comment for making our project more impactful to the intended users (target local community). I will try to reach Kagalula for further sharing of new ideas. Would it be possible for you just link with him.My email is ( you in advance.

Photo of Udoka Inwang

Amazing work Jonathan Nkungu 

Photo of Jonathan Nkungu

Thank you Udoka Inwang for your comment .One Home,One Latrine is Possible.Together we can make our motto becoming possible.Follow us our website for further

Photo of Bremley Lyngdoh

Hi Jonathan Nkungu at to have you in the Challenge! This challenge is specifically focusing on people who have been displaced and communities on the move. You mentioned working with rural communities in Biharamulo district in Tanzania on this in a part of your submission, but could you share more details specifically about their situation if they have been internally displaced? If you haven't done so yet, I'd recommend also taking a little time to dive into the Challenge Brief: and Evaluation Criteria:
I wonder if Isaac Jumba  has any thoughts?

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Hi Jonathan Nkungu it will be amazing to hear your perspective on how the community you are impacting directly link with the focus topic around the people on the move. Also, the community research toolkit here: is a good guide in reframing your idea

Photo of NDEF Cameroon

Hi Jonathan Nkungu,
It is interesting to hear that you are able to coordinate the construction of modern toilets to improve hygiene and sanitation as a business. You look up to supporting children and women, what about the role of men in providing toilets for their families? What are public health authorities doing to ensure a healthy community through good toilets which could reduce the spread of diseases? I think you could partner with legislation to enforce the collaboration of families to the venture rather than "... to use shame and peer pressure to create the demand for improved sanitation to end open defecation practices".

Kind regards.

Nkeng Pius
NDEF Director

Photo of Mark Capron

Dear Jonathan,
Consider coordinating the wastewater resource recovery with "Enhancing NDEF Farmers' Resource..." I would be willing to buy pasteurized urine and feces for restorative aquaculture operations. Perhaps "Enhancing..." can cover some of the collection costs for traditional aquaculture.

Photo of Mark Capron

Dear Jonathan,
Some thoughts for additional upgrades:
1) Add a vent pipe from the pit to a few feet above the roof of the structure. Ideally the vent pipe is on the south side and painted black. During the day, hot air rising in the vent pipe will pull air down through the defecation hole. The inside of the structure will smell nice, at least during the day.
If the area has a breeze at night, make the vent higher so that the breeze across the top of the vent pipe will draw odors out night and day.
2) Consider a urine diverting urinal/toilet and urine capture system as the ultimate upgrade. explains the benefits of urine capture and shows urine diverting toilets for farming. Because the pit will not have as much liquid, the feces will dry out faster (especially with the described vent). Dried feces take less space and produce less odor. (Check with public health agencies for pathogen reduction by drying.)
3) If public health agencies agree that few months of drying gives you 99.99% pathogen reduction, consider making two compartments for each pit. One compartment would be "out of service" for a few months out of every few years in order to reduce pathogens by drying before the dried feces are removed.
4) With urine-diversion and feces-drying the one pit (two compartments) remains serviceable indefinitely. With the vent, the room smells nice. The combination of smell nice and long service life means you could put the toilet inside the house (on a wall or a corner so that you can access for feces removal from the outside).