Global Health Initiative to promote and sustain the “Waterless Toilet” currently being developed by the Gates foundation
The Gates foundation is planning on launching a waterless toilet to address water and sanitation issues . But it will fail !!!!
The creation of this technology opens a whole new business opportunity . While BMGF has been and continues to making investments to support the development of this technology, the Foundation has not invested significantly in understanding the social, cultural and business climate in which this technology would eventually be implemented, how this information should be used to guide implementation, and ultimately how to achieve sustainable results.
Anecdotal evidence has shown that similar advanced technologies such as solar panels often fail in developing countries due to lack of foresight and adequate research of the cultural, social and economic context in which they are being implemented. Some of the problems that were not thought about in the case of solar panel technology were: the cost to developing nations, theft, demand, maintenance and efficiency.
Hence I am proposing a strategy to build on a business plan and model that will aim to;
Conduct an in-depth market analysis to inform the design, adaptation, implementation and sustainability of the technology
In order to demonstrate an effective public health and social business model, we will be adopting a case study approach in India. Building this model for the Indian context while the technology is still being developed will place us in a position to inform and predict some of the behavioral and cultural patterns that will affect and influence the demand and supply of the “waterless toilet”. In addition, we will study and suggest effective market based solutions to successfully promote this model across the private sector and local manufacturers, to create profitability and sustainability across the targeted populations.
One in three people around the world do not have access to basic sanitation services. According to the United Nations, globally, 2.6 billion people do not have sanitation or sewage facilities. Of these, approximately 1.5 billion defecate in the open. Moreover, in the developing world, 90 percent of sewage is discharged directly into lakes, rivers and oceans and tons of human waste go untreated every year. This poses serious environmental and public health challenges, and nearly 1.5 million children die each year from diarrhea, which is more than the total number of AIDS and malaria cases, combined.
In order to solve the global feces crisis and address the shortage of water and sewage facilities in developing counties, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation (BMGF) is investing in the development of the technology to enable a “waterless toilet” that will run without any electricity and without a sewer system. The first areas being targeted by BMGF for this technology are India and South Africa, two countries with large populations without access to adequate sanitation. BMGF has set a targeted cost for this toilet of 5 cents per person per day.
We propose to develop a template for a market analysis or business plan that would accompany the development and launch of a socially beneficial technology using the waterless toilet in India as our case study. Socially beneficial technologies address social problems like public health, education, or employment opportunities. The type of research needed to ensure the technology has a real impact on the social problem is different than what one would do for a company that is focused solely on profitability.
We will develop a ‘Public Health and Social Enterprise Model’ which will serve as a tool to inform and collaborate with all potential stakeholders interested in implementing this technology, not only at a community level, but also target the broader network of the private sector, government, NGOs, local manufacturers and vendors, and the Gates foundation, for the uptake of this technology at a global level. Following the success of this model, through our case study in India we hope to scale and replicate this in other parts of the developing world by collaborating with the key stakeholders in the toilet business. Furthermore, this will also help build a base with potential collaborators and competitors in the market.
Our key customers for this model will be;
- Funders and Local Businesses – Gates foundation ,private sector corporations and foundations (investing in social capital)
- Implementers -The Gates Team (who will build the technology and manage the overall process)
- Operators – Local manufacturers, distributors , vendors (who will oversee the day to day operations in the local context)
- Community organizations and Policy makers – Government, NGOs, research organizations , USAID, WHO etc. (who will plan and oversee the social and behavioral needs of the community, health education, training and assessment)