On an otherwise reasonable evening, more than 1,000 people packed an auditorium in Boulder, Colorado, for the culmination of the 2012 Unreasonable Institute. They came to see 23 ventures present their solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.
Paseka Lesolang, Founder of Water Hygiene Convenience (WHC), shares how his venture is improving sanitation conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa and saving households hundreds of liters of water a day in the process.
Water is a scarce commodity that is quickly diminishing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), South Africa’s water consumption will exceed availability by 2025. WHO has also identified a direct link between HIV/AIDS and poor sanitation. The recovery period for someone with advanced HIV who contracts a water-borne disease is longer, and his health outcomes could diminish. As a result, water, sanitation and hygiene education is key to combatting HIV/AIDS, as is empowering communities to manage water and sanitation. Our solution releases an organic detergent that reduces bacteria. Eliminating pathogens, enhancing hygiene, and saves 140L of water a day per house. As a result, we can help governments solve sanitation problems affordably. Our business strategy; sales cover operational costs. Potential customers include the Tshwane Health & Social Development Office, for installation in all clinics and public toilets in the city, and Legacy Hotel & Resorts for their properties. Finally, there are 2.4 million low-cost houses to be built by 2014. If we can service 1 million units at $100/unit, the business will break even in 2 years and generate $100 million in revenue.
What is the urgent social or environmental need you’re addressing?
It addresses water consumption issues and enhance conservation thereof. Water is a natural limited resource and many countries, are facing a looming water crises, if not already. Thus, the urgent need for water conservation, given our rapid economic growth. The World Health Organization (WHO), ranked South Africa (SA) as the 30th driest country in the world and dependent on Lesotho for water. Apparently SA’s Water consumption will exceed availability by 2025.
Another addressed issue is hygiene. Many pandemics are manifested from environments that are saturated with bacteria that could be easily eliminated with necessary precautions. WHO has also identified a direct link between HIV/AIDS and poor sanitation. There are 15 lethal water-borne diseases, 12 of which are spread by inadequate sanitation. The recovery period for someone with advanced HIV who contracts a water-borne disease is longer and his health outcomes could diminish. As a result, water, sanitation and hygiene education is key to combating HIV/AIDS, as is empowering communities to manage water and sanitation. The implementation in numerous households will address other social benefits of urgency i.e. unemployment…
What is your solution to this need? Describe your business strategy.
Our solution is an enhancement of the standard toilet that tends to malfunction and harbours bacteria on the flush handle and pot. It saves 140L of water a day per house in an average family of 4. It releases a detergent with the flushed water, to eliminate the 12 water-borne bacteria in the pot. Bacteria found on flush handles give birth to diseases. Hence, via our solution users do not use the flush handle. This approach eliminates encountered pathogens enhancing the hygiene practices. These hygiene features are so adequate that if used effectively they can prolong the lifespan of an infected HIV/AIDS person. It also enhances sanitation network flow in urban areas by converting the waste into a lucid format reducing the blockage in the system. It organically converts waste disposals to biproducts (i.e. Fertilizer) for dry senitation preferances.
As a result, we can help governments solve sanitation problems affordably, without compromising communities’ lifestyles or economic growth. Saving 288 billion litters of water yearly, if installed in a million houses to the value of approximately $50 million saved. The implementation phase will employ at least 480 people.