Problem Addressed

A lack of sanitation facilities at schools in India leads to children dropping out. Even schools with urinals and toilets have an acute shortage of water as many areas in India do not have access to an adequate water supply. These schools that have the necessary sanitation infrastructure also often lack the necessary maintenance of these facilities, leading to lower utilization of the facilities. In addition, a huge amount of water is wasted in restrooms during flushing. A conventional urinal flushes approximately 3-4 liters, using between 50,000-150,000 liters in a year.

Innovative Approach

The technology of waterless urinals is innovative in that it saves a large amount of water for the schools and in turn benefits the community at large. Also, this technology reduces the need for maintenance compared to existing sanitation facilities. The program spreads awareness of proper sanitation and water conservation among children, as well as implementing a solution through its innovative product.

Such approaches have garnered Ekam various awards including: Next Big 100 Company (Hay Group); ABP News Global CSR (Social Impact Awards 2015); Millennium Alliance Award 2014; DST Lockheed Martin India Innovation Growth Program 2014; TIE Silicon Valley Award 2014; Sankalp Forum Award 2015 (Finalist); and CII I4C Innovation Award (Finalist).

Program Solution

The Prawah program, which stands for “Promoting abundance of water and hygiene,” installs “Zerodor” Waterless Urinals, a low-cost retrofit technology which does not use any chemicals and does not have any recurring costs. It eliminates the need for flushing a urinal, can save between 50,000 – 150,000 liters of fresh water for each urinal per year, and makes the restroom odor-free.

The organization also runs a campaign around sustainable sanitation, focused on promoting water conservation and providing sustainable sanitation facilities in schools. In each partner school, Ekam Eco Solutions provides up to 5 waterless urinals. It bears the cost of the Zerodor Waterless Urinals as well as expenses towards installation, a cost of approximately INR 25,000 (approximately 400 USD). The organization also conducts a two-hour workshop for 30 participants (teachers, school prefects and maintenance staff) on proper sanitation practices.