Entrepreneurs add fresh touch to pit latrines

In Innovation, Inspiration, Success

Some of the most impacting solutions in the world today are ridiculously simple. And just so because they need to benefit the many that are usually at a real fix and would be ruined, so to speak, if there is no effective solution at hand.

This is one of them: SATO or simply Safe Toilet, is another a simple yet life-changing innovation around pit latrines that is taking rural Africa by storm.

Pioneered by LIXIL Ltd, the small but critical improvement on pit latrines is now benefiting millions of rural and slum-dwelling people in Africa.

World impact

“Since we launched just early this month, SATO toilet has been installed in more than 1 million homes across the world,” reveals LIXIL sales and marketing manager, Alex Njagi.

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Coming at a time when the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) estimates the number of people dying from sanitation-related diseases to be at 1.8 million people annually, the innovation, fronted to be quite affordable and hygienic, is a big relief for millions of rural and slum-dwelling people in Africa.

“The sitting pan, which is a bit bigger, goes at Sh1,300 a piece, while the squatting one goes at only Sh500 a piece,” adds the co-founder.

How to install 

When installing SATO toilet, he says, the user has to take care of just a few things:

” Before installing the squatting pan, one has to enlarge the size of the hole of the pit, fix it carefully then cement to reinforce the hold. ”

But the Sitting pan needs no enlarging of the hole; you only place it on the existing hole and screw to hold.

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Njagi says SATO is hygienic for at least two reasons: it can be cleaned with less than 200 ml of water.

“The toilet has a counterweighted trap door at the base, which opens and closes automatically after use. This closes in the bad smell that such toilets usually emit, making it a user-friendly “.


Noting distribution to be the biggest challenge to the universal adoption of the social good innovation, Njagi says the company is happy to have brought Unicef on board, which majorly helps in promoting fast adoption.

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“With their global mission of promoting community-led total sanitation (CLT), the child well-being agency is a great partner in our singular effort at eradicating deaths rocking Africa due to the rampant hygiene and sanitation problems,” he explains.



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