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Sub-Saharan Africa

Sanergy: Improving sanitation while advancing sustainable agriculture

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Country: Kenya

Sector: Sanitation

Challenge: Inadequate sanitation is a global health crisis. Less than half the world’s population has regular access to clean toilets and availability is much lower in many urban areas like those in Kenya, where only about 15 percent of the urban population is connected to a sewer system. Raw sewage in pit latrines, street gutters and open bodies of water is a major cause of disease worldwide, poses a significant cost to local economies and is even associated with low school attendance.

Solution: Sanergy, a startup formed by graduate students at MIT’s Sloan School of Business, developed a toilet that captures waste in cartridges, which are regularly collected and sent to processing facilities where the waste is used to produce fertilizer and animal feed. OPIC is supporting Sanergy with a $5 million loan to help it introduce more toilets and expand its animal feed facility.

​​​​​​​Impact: To date, Sanergy has introduced almost 1,400 of its fresh life toilets in communities in Kenya that are operated through franchise agreements and reaches about 50,000 users while sales of fertilizer have risen to 359 metric tons. In addition to bringing modern sanitation to thousands, Sanergy is helping address a shortage of animal feed in Kenya and improve farm yields.

This project was profiled in 2017