NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 2 – For David Kuria the old adage “fuata harufu upate choo” (follow the smell to get a toilet) had become uncomfortably commonplace in the society. He therefore felt the urge to remove the “smell” aspect from the thought of toilets.
The alumnus of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology’s Architecture faculty is the Chief Executive officer of Ecotact Limited, the company behind the innovative Iko Toilets which have partnered with the City Council to put up eco-friendly ablution blocks in the Central Business District.
Mr Kuria spoke exclusively to Capital Business.
Q: What made you think of going into sanitation?
A: Most of sanitation development has failed in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa. There was a growing need for good and efficient toilet facilities in densely populated areas especially in urban centres.
Q: What makes the Iko Toilets project stand out?
A: If you look at the basic design of the toilets they appear descent. Another thing is that through the imitative we have been able to offer employment to people in need of jobs.
Q: What impact has the project had?
A: where else can you find someone eating outside a toilet? We have been able to change the picture in people’s minds that public toilets are dirty places. I have also been able to uplift the livelihoods of many struggling Kenyans. The project offers employment to shoe shiners, cleaners and kiosk operators and now I am actually having difficulty going through the number of applications sent to me daily.
Q: How has the response been so far?
A: The toilets have been received well by the people and now even councils across the country are seeing the need of these facilities and are lining up to have the toilets set up in their areas.
Q: What are your plans going forward?
A: I want to change people’s perception that sanitation is dirty and still expect someone else cleaning it for them. I also want to partner with the government to have similar facilities set up in schools because such projects would require funding for it to be sustainable.