Changing attitudes about sanitation through toilet malls

Video link: not for the queasy of stomach.

David Kuria runs EcoTact Limited, an organization with a groundbreaking approach to a difficult issue. In many poor parts of Africa, basic sanitation is nonexistent, and open sewers drain untreated waste directly into the water supply, causing 80% of the disease.

Kuria quotes Gandhi: "Sanitation is more important than independence," adding, "We want to do a social transformation, where people don't think this is a toilet, where they think a toilet is a dirty place. So for us to change that community and social mentality of a toilet, then we want to put in more activities in the toilet. Then they start interacting with the facility not as a toilet, but more of a community convenient point."

Amenities include a small kiosk with snacks and personal items for sale. Kenyan comedian Makhoha Keya even worked up an act to make learning about basic sanitation entertaining. Ecotact provides safe drinking water at no cost, and the toilet usage fee is about five cents a day, usually recouped through fewer doctor visits and lost days of work.

EcoTact Limited website


  1. This reminds me of the bathroom Hiro Protagonist uses near the beginning of Snow Crash, the one he pays extra money in to use the fancy facilities.

    At the same time, the fact that it’s 2010 and African countries still haven’t expanded their infrastructures in order to fulfill their citizens most basic needs really bothers me.

  2. Good job to Kuria and friends at EcoTact. Keep it up, you’re much needed in those areas and more.

    However, shame to the government for not doing a damn thing and waiting for others to take initiative. Kenyans are highly taxed, and for what? No BASIC utilities even in other areas that are not slums. People cannot have running water or electricity 7 days continuously, without a borehole and a generator. It’s not that there’s no money in that country, it’s just that the president and prime minister get paid more than Obama! ‘Nuff said.

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