Faqs

What product or service does Sustainable Rural Sanitation offer?

SRS manufacture the Loo-Loo in the U.S. for delivery in container loads to wherever they’re most needed in the world.

Why do you think the Loo-Loo will become an object of desire?

Past history with the Mark I version of the Mark II Loo-Loo has proved its acceptance as an object of desire. The four Success Stories in this proposal illustrate that fact. The virtues of being smell-free (therefore largely fly-free), safe and easy-to-clean, are hard to ignore. With minimal training it’s simple to install. It’s also easy to re-locate when the pit’s eventually full, so sustainability is a major plus.

Who is it intended for?

The “poorest of the poor” practice open-defecation because they either have no toilets at all or the toilets they do have, are smelly, fly-infested, unsafe and therefore unusable. This is for them, the forgotten people.

What’s your primary motivation?

We want to make a difference in the lives of people who will never have a decent toilet.

Is there another reason?

Yes. It’s well documented that Open Defecation (OD) results in contact with human waste in some form or another. Water sources are polluted and food is contaminated, The resultant diseases affect children especially. The indignity of OD is also a major factor with women and girls being particularly vulnerable in this regard.

So maintenance of dignity and uplifting health and hygiene are compelling reasons for this initiative?

Yes, and its proved to be measurable. For instance, success would be declaring a village ODF (Open Defecation Free).

That implies the whole community must buy-in to each project?

Correct. It’s important to work through local leaders and yes, we’re talking about community-led roll outs. We want to help people help themselves. It’s important the whole community act in concert and thereafter enjoy the benefit of improved hygiene and health.

Why do you think potential donors are often willing to give grants but frequently end up giving away only a portion of funds allocated to Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development programs each year?

Most donors like the idea of giving back to a community halfway around the world but often have a hard time figuring out how to do that. Understandably, they want some sort of guarantee that they’re getting the most bang for their buck.

How does SRS overcome this dis-connect?

Of the four P’s, we provide the Product, Place and Promotion. We’ve already done the hard work.

I notice you left out P for Price. Where’s the money going to come from for the Loo-Loo’s?

We dare to believe that Corporations, Mining companies, Foundations, Trusts, Celebrities, AgriBusinesses, Church Groups and the like, will be willing to provide enough grant money to pay for the manufacture and transport to destination. It’s a simple program.

Will the Loo-Loo’s be sold singly or in bulk?

There will be only two prices for 20’ and/or 40’ container loads of Loo-Loo’s.

I gather the Loo-Loo’s will then be supplied free of charge?

Yes. The recipients of this largesse will be people who have trouble keeping body and soul together, never mind buying a toilet.

You’ve often said that anything free is worth what you pay for it. What if anything, will the community contribute?

Two words. “Sweat equity!” As part of the community-driven roll-out, each householder will be responsible for digging their own pit according to simple instructions before being issued with a Loo-Loo. They will also be responsible for a) the installation thereof and b) the building of their own privacy structure from whatever materials are to hand. Grant money will apply strictly to the provision of the Loo-Loo only.

You seem sure about your ability to obtain grants? Are you not over simplifying the potential difficulty involved in raising funds?

Possibly. All I can say is that we consider it a privilege to be involved in changing the lives of the “poorest of the poor” for the better. We therefore consider it our responsibility to offer that same golden opportunity to others. In this way, together, we offer hope to people who very often have lost all hope. Together, we can make a difference.

Once the Loo-Loo’s have been installed, will there be some form of feedback to the donors?

Accountability is essential, so yes. Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Donors will indeed be informed of what their generosity has accomplished. This will most times be in the form of photographs (because they’re most effective and speak a thousand words) and a short report.

Regarding P for Place, are there already existing projects that can accept container loads of Loo-Loo’s from a standing start?

Yes. We’ve already identified over 400 villages in Zambia and Malawi that would immediately welcome Loo-Loo’s with open arms and great joy.

This seems a gigantic undertaking. You’ve obviously put a lot of effort into it already. What will be your reward?

That’s an easy one to answer. Have a look at the success stories. The comments speak for me.

I note in this proposal that you give a dozen reasons why the simple but effective Loo-Loo makes a difference. If you had to select the top 4 distinctive benefits, what would they be?

Difficult question but I would probably say
• Smell-free (24/7 all-weather continuous venting)
• Safe (especially for women and children)
• Sanitary (easy to keep clean)
• Sustainable (easy to re-locate when pit is full – the ”know-how” stays in the community)
I would also add, “Sufficient on its own” (functionality independent of type of privacy structure householder erects). People often refer to the privacy structure above ground as “the toilet”. This is a popular misconception. What really counts is effective venting. It is quite commonplace to have a luxurious privacy structure that is smelly, fly-ridden and hazardous. Notwithstanding the variety of privacy structures that will be built, the important thing to remember is the Loo-Loo is the vital component.

It seems like a very useful and impactful grassroots initiative that can have a beneficial influence on the lives of people without adequate access to safe, clean toilets?

Grassroots is right. I have a letter from a 65 year-old recent acquaintance in Malawi. He relates how “at age 6, I went to live with an uncle in a village of about 6,000 people in the northern part of the country. There wasn’t a single toilet, so we defecated in the bush. I hated doing that but now that I’ve grown up, I’ve found that same area still has no or just a few dilapidated toilets. I’m ready to help mobilize our communities and country to work with your organization.”

Do you help with the initial installation?

It’s in everyone’s interest to see the project start right to continue in the same vein. We supply a mentor, if required. Naturally, buy-in to the concept by community leaders and the community itself is essential. This is seldom, if ever, a problem.

Is any preparation required before your mentor arrives?

We recommend a pit be dug about 5ft deep and approximately 4ft in diameter. It allows the mentor upon arrival to immediately complete an installation in full view of all interested parties. We recommend our mentor remain on site for say 5 working days thereafter to help set up the project for ongoing continuity.

What happens if the ground collapses inwardly while this trial pit is being dug beforehand?

You make an important point. In collapsing soils, the configuration of the pit is different (notably shallower) and the Loo-Loo, without losing any of its venting properties, has to be moved more often. That fact needs to be effectively communicated.

Who pays the mentor’s expenses?

The cost for the donor or purchaser’s account, will be for a return airfare, visa, reasonable accommodation and meals, transport as needed and an agreed gratuity for our mentor.

Does the size of the project determine whether you will supply a mentor to help start the project?

We think that’s a decision for whoever’s paying for the container loads of Loo-Loo’s. There have been instances where communities have exercised their own initiative and used the simple Installation Instructions provided to successfully install the Mark I version of the Mark II Loo-Loo’s on their own. However, a team effort involving all major players is the norm rather than the exception.

Your documentation seems to lean heavily on “donor” support?

Yes, if one accepts the word “donor” is simply the entity paying for the Loo-Loo’s. For instance, a mining company or agribusiness will fund container loads of Loo-Loo’s out of their operating costs as part of their CSR & SD program for the benefit of surrounding villages. In the case of a charitable foundation or fund, it might take the form of a pure grant, again for the benefit of say villagers who will never have a decent toilet.

Can anyone make a monetary donation to this very worthy cause?

Donations are welcome. All contributions will go towards the purchase of Loo-Loo’s. Donate on this page: http://sustainableruralsanitation.com/opportunity/

You have an interesting vignette about the versatility of the Loo-Loo?

It’s a great anecdote. A church group was on mission in Malawi and traveled from venue to venue in deep rural areas. The team included women who were used to flush toilets. Understandably, their biggest worry beforehand was what sort of toilets they would have to use. The team leader had the presence of mind to take along six Mark I versions of the Mark II Loo-Loo to use as temporary/instant toilets. Privacy was ensured by the temporary erection of a simple pole and plastic sheeting enclosure at each stop. When the mission was over, those self-same women expressed their heart felt satisfaction with and gratitude for the “temporary” toilets.

Together we can make a difference.

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