Exhibition: Network | December 2, 2011 by Andrea-Lipps
Roughly fifty percent of Kenya’s population lacks access to sanitation facilities. In the country’s informal settlements, alternatives include shallow pits or plastic bags—“flying toilets”—that pose enormous health risks. In 2008, Ecotact began designing and constructing Ikotoilet toilet and shower sanitation centers that also serve as sites for community activity. By providing services such as snack shops, shoe shines, telephones, and newspaper stands, Ikotoilets became a multiuse community space, a “toilet mall.” The profits from these business activities and from advertising provide revenue streams that help offset the cost of construction and maintenance of the sanitation centers. With nearly fifty facilities located throughout Kenya, Ikotoilets help reduce pollution and support municipal efforts towards cleaner cities. For only 5 shillings (about 5 cents; further subsidized rates are available for the urban poor), community members now have an affordable and clean sanitation option. The malls also provide a multitude of employment opportunities for local low-income and youth populations. The design is replicable and adjustable—in 2010 Ikotoilets expanded to schools and were installed with biodigesters to convert the waste to energy. Ikotoilets have now been implemented in ten schools throughout Kenya and serve approximately ten million users per year.
Designer: Ecotact. Kenya, 2008–present