Architect and Urban Development specialist with over 20 years' experience in urban environment, research, community assessments and technology development. Current County Chief Officer (2022-2027), Housing and Urban Development, County Government of Nakuru, Founder, National Director , (2019-2022) Geothermal Development Corporation-Kenya, Ikotoilet brand. Member of the board, institutions and community groups. Member: Ashoka; Lemelson Technology Group; Sussana, a global network on sustainable sanitation. Rotarian. Ashoka Fellow, on sanitation (2007). Winner of change makers competition and Hall of Fame (2008); Africa Social Entreprenuer of the Year (2009). Interests: social transformation, change in the community.
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Ecotact improves the urban landscape for low-income communities in Kenya through environmentally responsible projects in sanitation like the Ikotoilet project, a sustainable sanitation service in urban centres where local municipalities cannot manage the rapid pace of urbanization.
Focus: Sanitation, Water, Urban Environment, Employment
Geographic Area of Impact: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda
Model: Social Business
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 15 Million (2010)
Annual Budget: US$ 1.5 million (2009)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 40% (2009)
Recognition: Regional Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Africa, 2009
In the urban slums of Kenya, open defecation and "flying toilet" remain the prime methods of human waste disposal, posing a challenge to planners, health and social services providers and development partners. To combat this problem, Ecotact launched the Ikotoilet initiative two years ago, constructing 40 facilities in 20 Kenyan municipalities. Today it serves approximately 300,000 people daily with safe water and sanitation, and has created a pool of 100 workers, with plans for up to 1000 employees in total.
Innovation and Activities
The Ikotoilet project, based on ecological sanitation, ensures optimized utility and design value in urban sanitation. To strengthen sustainability, the Ikotoilet model created a "toilet mall concept", a private/public partnership between Ecotact (private) and local authorities including water and sewerage utilities (public), all directed toward the provision of hygienic public utilities. The Ikotoilet toilet mini-mall, located in cities, parks, markets and informal settlements, has exceptionally clean sanitation facilities, including waterless urinals, bio-digesters and dry toilets. It also incorporates a snack shop, shoeshine service, indoor lounge area and outdoor recreational use area.
The goals of Ecotact focus upon various transformations, including Urban Space, Sanitation Services, Social Behaviour, Conservation, Corporate Responsibility and the 21st Century Learning Environment. It strives to develop innovative answers to the growing environmental sanitation crisis in Africa and globally, and concentrates on innovations that drive sustainable social interventions. Such innovations include Technology Adaptation, Institutionalization and Partnerships, Hygiene Promotion in Schools and Communities, and Strategic Youth Employment.
Through high-profile social marketing campaigns with celebrities, including the Vice-President of Kenya, a bishop and Miss Kenya, as well as weekly tournaments and a reality TV show, Ecotact seeks to reduce the stigma and taboos associated with toilets and hygiene, making sanitation fashionable even for the urban poor. In addition to the sanitation services offered, each Ikotoilet mini-mall provides 10-15 jobs to young people through its snack shop and shoeshine enterprise franchises and cleaning services. By charging a nominal service fee for the sanitation facilities, and with additional revenue from the mall activities, each mini-mall is sustainable.
David Kuria is a Kenyan national who trained as an architect. While working for Nairobi’s City Planning Authority he was confronted with the fact that more than 65% of the population live without basic services like water, sanitation and solid waste collection in the city’s informal settlements. After years of serving as a city planner and with non-profit organizations delivering basic services to the people of Kibera, the largest informal settlement in Africa, he created Ecotact as a social enterprise to spearhead community service and environmental interventions with a business perspective. Awards include the 2010 UN Dubai International Best Practice Award, and the Most Innovative SMME, at the annual SMME Awards held in South Africa.