ABOUT half of Zambia’s population rely on basic sanitation services for excreta of human waste. However, 90% of those living in the peri-urban areas of Lusaka rely on unimproved sanitation characterized by poorly built pit latrines that do not safely separate waste from human contact.
CIDRZ with support from UNILEVER and in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine conducted a study to map out the sanitation landscape with respect to sanitation goods and services and identify potential niches and business models for sanitation products in Lusaka’s peri-urban compound.
The study sought to explore the market for improving domestic latrine quality, emptying services and faecal sludge re-use products along the faecal sludge management chain. The objectives involved understanding perceptions about emptying services, exploring the demand for the service by potential consumers, consumer demand and willingness to pay for toilet pan technology (SATO Pan) and to assess consumer demand for faecal sludge fuel briquettes.
When presenting the findings of the study during the CIDRZ weekly research meeting, CIDRZ Jenala Chipungu said “50% of participants reported previous latrine filled up, 5% reported current latrines had filled up before and of these 67% were emptied. Due to safety concerns, 41% of participants in George Compound planned to replace their latrines when full as opposed to emptying compared to 20% of participants in Kanyama where they already had existing emptying services”.
On use of SATO toilet pan technology, the study found that 80% of respondents preferred the stool pan (mainly because it allows one to sit) as compared to 50% in favour of the squat pan. In terms of gender, 83% women preferred the stool pan compared to 71% men with participants over 55 years disliking both pans. The majority of participants were willing to pay up to 60 ZMW and 70 ZMW for the stool and squat SATO pans respectively. However, concerns by participants included skepticism around durability and user unfriendliness especially for the elderly.
Jenala added that though the majority of the participants had heard of faecal sludge briquettes, “approximately 74% of participants would not use it even if it was cheaper than charcoal or if the community was using it”. The study revealed that reasons for participants unwillingness to use faecal sludge briquettes were that it was unhygienic, the burning capacity might not be strong and that the smell would be unpleasant.
The study concluded that given widespread onsite pit latrine usage and relative lack of space in peri-urban areas, pit emptying was inevitable as well as requirement for appropriate pit construction standards for the safe containment of waste and eventual ease of emptying. Furthermore, payment initiatives for those who cannot afford the SATO pans needed to be explored including raising awareness for faecal sludge briquettes prior to introducing them in the market.