Problem Addressed

According to a 2012 Ministry of Water and Environment Sector Performance report, Uganda loses approximately USD 177 million annually due to poor sanitation. Ten percent of the population of Uganda practices open defecation, which is estimated to cost the country USD 41 million per year. However, eliminating the practice requires less than 650,000 household toilets to be built and used. The urban population of Uganda has rapidly increased to an estimated 5 million (14.7% of the total population) in 2012, resulting in slums and informal settlements which are ‘hotspots’ for the urban poor. These communities are characterized by ill-planned infrastructure and inadequate access to sanitation facilities.

A recent Rapid Market Assessment carried out by Water For People in partnership with Captiva, a Business Development Service provider company in Kampala, revealed that manual laborers simply use a broken jerry can and rope to empty pit latrines. Such manual emptying of pits is not only unhygienic, but labor intensive and time consuming. Many households resorted to releasing sludge into the community drainage systems, or abandoning the facility altogether and resorting to open defecation, leading to waterborne diseases like diarrhea and cholera.

Innovative Approach

Forever Sanitation’s pit latrine emptying service fills a market gap in the slums of Kampala: there was previously no cost-effective and accessible way to do this. The program uses a simple technology and charges a fee for service, ensuring the company’s long-term sustainability.

Program Solution

Forever Sanitation is a company formed in 2013 to provide access to reliable, affordable, hygienic and clean pit-emptying services to every household in Kampala district and beyond. Forever Sanitation uses unique equipment to empty latrine pits in low-income areas that are not generally accessible by larger waste removal services or where other methods of waste removal are not affordable.

The company uses an innovative mechanical “gulper” machine and barrels to empty and transport sludge to a nearby treatment plant. By enabling the reuse of latrine pits that would otherwise go unused once full, proper waste disposal is encouraged, creating a healthier environment with a reduced risk of diseases. Their services also enable households to recoup their initial investment in installing the latrine and extend its usability. Forever Sanitation has helped provide better sanitation for over 1,900 households around Kampala.

Forever Sanitation

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Partners: Kampala Capital City Authority – Directorate of Public Health; National Water & Sewerage Corporation; National Environmental Management Authority; Water for People – Uganda; Watcom Engineering Ltd.; Local Council leaders at division level; Local leaders at the village and parish levels; Village Health Teams (VHTs) at parish level; Other gulper pit emptying entrepreneurs; and the Association of private pit emptiers.

Location:  Kampala,