Engineers earn by investing in new sanitation business
Posted Tuesday, May 20 2014 at 00:00
They needed about Shs650,000 to start up the pit emptying business.
Two engineering graduates from Makerere University have developed pit latrine emptying technology to promote sanitation in slums.
The new technology dubbed the ‘rammer’ is locally manufactured by Ugandan artisans at a cost-friendly price.
The designers of the technology want to boost pit emptying entrepreneurs by easing the way of doing their business. The technology uses less energy to pump sewerage from the pits.
“Besides promoting sanitation, we want people to invest in sanitation as a business,” said Samuel Malinga, one of the developers of the technology. He added that the technology is yet to be approved by Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA).
It takes only Shs650,000 to start up the pit emptying business. The two developers argue that space in slums is getting limited thus making it hard for cesspools trucks to access latrine facilities. In addition, the rammer technology is cost-friendly compared to emptying tracks.
“We want to make sure that people access the services easily and locally,” said Hebert Atayo, the second brain behind the rammer.
“The entrepreneur purchases his own set of equipment at Shs650,000. He will then start offering emptying services to households,” Atayo added.
The two engineers were illustrating how the technologies work at the Sunihub open day held at ‘Water for People’ offices in Kampala recently.
The two engineers have been working with Sanitation Solutions, Water for People and Engineers without borders in researching and testing the technologies.
Bob Stalker, an engineer at Water for People has also developed two complimenting technologies to the rammer, the shifter used to lift the barrel and a hand cart. The two technologies help in transporting barrels by hand from the pit to the dumping site. The rammer is used to siphon the sludge from the pit latrines into the barrels -- it works like a borehole.
According to Sherina Munyana, the communications manager at Water for People, about 12 entrepreneurs in Kampala have already ventured in the pit emptying business.
“We negotiated with KCCA to have dumping costs reduced from Shs10,000 to Shs5,000 as a way of cutting costs incurred in the pity emptying business,” Munyana noted.
John Businge based in Kasubi, is one among the 12 entrepreneurs currently offering the pit emptying services to approximately 20 households per month.
He employs two permanent operators and eight part-time operators.
He earns an average profit of Shs1 million monthly from his sewerage business.