Improper disposal of human waste is a major contributor to the transmission of many infectious diseases, included cholera, typhoid, infectious hepatitis and polio. According to WHO, over 1.5 million children die annually from diarrhoeal diseases that result from improper excreta management, making it the second leading cause of death for children under five worldwide.
Unfortunately, sanitation is no easy fix. Many sanitation systems require elaborate infrastructure or continuous maintenance and waste removal. The Peepoo does not require any fancy infrastructure, can be used anywhere, and is one of few sanitation solutions that do not require water. Water is only needed for users to wash their hands after use.
The Peepoo is a biodegradable bag with a lining that kills bacteria in feces, turning it into valuable fertilizer. It is a slim, elongated bag with two layers. The internal gauze layer is pulled over the rim of a Peepoo Kiti, a green cylinder offered with the product which provides a seat for the user. This internal layer is coated with a thin film of urea, which inactivates dangerous pathogens in feces. The fresh, external layer is then used to seal the Peepoo, which will remain odour free for at least 24 hours after use.
Anders Wilhemson developed the Peepoo concept in Sweden in 2005, with the intention of preventing disease transmission as early as possible. Wilhemson and his project team carried out extensive research before field-testing began in Kibera, Nairobi in 2008. The Kibera pilot is still ongoing, with plans for expansion and the Peepoo has been tested in a variety of circumstances and climates around the world. The Peepoo bag is a useful sanitation solution for urban slums, schools, emergency response and refugee or IDP camps.
The urban slums project in Kibera supplies Peepoo sanitation services to 20,000 people daily, including school children, with an expected 4,000 tonnes of fertilizer to be generated by the end of the project. The launch project in Kibera has been used to test the function of the Peepoo system on a large scale, while monitoring and adjusting program services for distribution and collection. Peepoople have worked closely with community leaders in Kibera through all stages of the planning and implementation process, in order to build a sustainable sanitation system that will create job opportunities and contribute to food security, in addition to improving the health and living conditions of Kibera residents. Success in Kibera will enable Peepoople to create a scalable service model and duplicate the project in other urban slums throughout the world. Peepoo will use a market-based approach to collaborate with partners for the provision of the Peepoo sanitation system, as well as the after-product of high-value fertilizer. Peepoo sanitation systems in Kibera are currently price supported, however Peepoople expect the project to be self-sustainable by 2020.
The Peepoo School Programme is currently reaching 10,000 students in Kibera, with an aim to reach 100,000 Kenyan students by 2016. Peepoople set up private stalls for boys, girls and teachers, supply hand washing facilities and Peepoo toilets for all students, and provide hygiene and sanitation education. The students in Kibera take great pride in their Peepoo toilets, with many requesting their parents buy some for home use.
Students are sharing the knowledge they are learning in school with their families and promoting the use of Peepoo in their communities. Teachers are seeing a great improvement in attendance and wait times between classes have been cut dramatically. The school programmes are currently donor-funded.
Peepoople also supply Peepoos to aid organizations, such as Oxfam, for use in humanitarian relief, emergency response and refugee and IDP camps. You can find specific product details in Oxfam’s equipment catalogue here.
Dignity is at the core of the Peepoople project. The Peepoo is not just a basic sanitation device, but also a dignified alternative to public defecation or overfull, bacteria ridden latrines. The Peepoo provides a dignified, safe sanitation solution for people without access to toilets or suitable latrines, including women and children living in insecure situations where it may not be safe to make a trip to the latrines after dark.
Peepoople plan to continue providing Peepoos to aid organizations and scaling up their reach in urban slums, with a long-term goal of reaching 150 million people daily.