Kenyan Refugee Camp Piloting Smart Toilets for Over 100,000 Refugees

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Safi Choo prototype
Safi Choo prototype

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The Kenya Medical Research Institute are expected to launch a solar powered water sanitation program at Kakuma Refugee Camp, with over 100,000 people on World Water Day March 22.

The solar initiative aims to treat human waste effectively by using new latrine designs and sewage treatment methods for greater safety, sustainability and disease prevention.

According to the two, Solar sanitation is an inexpensive, innovative, and effective form of waste treatment that uses concentrated solar energy to treat waste so it can be safely discarded or potentially used for fertilizer or fuel. This is a critical component of a holistic waste management system that will ensure latrines are emptied, maintained clean, and reused—conserving space in the camp and reducing open defecation.

c3920e_e97f9bced5ee4a069c555f82a58812ea.jpg_srz_p_388_349_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzCDC Kenya, SanivationExternal Web Site Icon and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and experts from the Georgia Institute of Technology with an award from CDC’s Innovation Fund are piloting Safi Choo (smart toilet), a solar sanitation project in the refugee camp to treat human waste and decrease energy use and disease transmission in the camp.The teams have working with locals and staff on the latrine’s design, usage, and maintenance in a move expected to improve water quality by ensuring waste is appropriately managed.
According to CDC, over 1.3 billion people globally lack access to electricity and people twice as much have lack improved sanitation services which leads diseases and poverty. And though human life requires water, the amount of energy required to maintain water supplies; pumping, distributing and sanitation are all energy-intensive activities.  This project and the entire World Water Day 2014 emphasizes on the connection between water and energy and advocates to developing of water and sanitation solutions that meet both demands.