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Can the Uganda team provide information on the construction, assembly, sale and costs of the Durasan

The Durasan is an interesting way of building toilets without masons and I am interested in knowing the experience of the Uganda team and SSG in the modifications it has been through, how it is made, how it is performing and how it compares with the traditional built latrine.

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Sanitation Solutions Group is currently selling the DuraSan latrine in greater Kampala. Experience has shown that the most promising market is peri urban households. The minimum cost for one basic stance including a concrete ring pit and SaTo pan is around 300USD, which is competitive with a mason's prices. Both the structure and substructure is modular, meaning a range of options are available based on household size, budget, and preferences. Most households ask for 1-2 latrines plus a bathroom, a septic tank, and ceramic tiles - which increase the perceived value substantially.

Like most of SSG's products, DuraSan sales have mainly been secured through door to door marketing. We have not met our sales targets mainly because of financing. The Latrine price seems to be O.K, but customers don't like the loan terms we are able to offer, and few customers can pay with cash.

SSG has trained and recruited 2 construction managers who manage the process. Construction of a 2 stance latrine and septic is very simple and can take two days - including tiles and painting - once you have established an efficient supply chain.

Any more questions are welcome.

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We are struggling with Durasan in Malawi due to the poor accuracy of reproduced moulds. With visual inspection they seemed fine but the bricks we are getting are not of good enough quality. I'm going to inspect if the moulds are rescuable tomorrow.

We did a FLOW survey acrosss Blantyre (the city we are based in) and even here close to 50% of people spent less than $30 on a latrine so we'll struggle price wise. In the rural district we work in, 91% spent less than $20! Though I do recognise its obviously not a product for everyone.

In terms of 'Willingness to Pay' I think I got a tip from someone, just look at what people are paying now. Thats what they are willing to pay.

These figures would suggest that for Malawi, the Durasan is for lodges, tea estates, schools, some wealthy landords. There is someone here selling an even more expensive latrine called an Amalooloo and he's managed to sell 100 - all to the local sugar estates.

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If somebody was to offer me a car that I knew would only last 6 months, I would not pay more them more than $300 – and then only if it had a full tank of petrol . If someone was to offer me a car that would last forever, I would pay $20,000 for it, may be more. There are cars and cars and there are toilets and toilets. Price is dynamic depending on quality and, in case of Blantyre toilets, the ‘permanence’ the investment offers.

In Blantyre there has never been a simple way for people to empty pit latrines and there is no tradition of manual pit emptying or self-emptying, unlike Kampala and Dar es Salaam. When the pit becomes full, the whole latrine has to be moved and a new superstructure built. In such circumstances even $30 seems high and the Householders are been entirely rational.

By developing and offering to households’ affordable pit emptying services it changes the nature of the investment decision. People are willing to pay more for quality and permanence and this is where Durasan could enter the market. Ability to pay is another question and another solution.

In Blantyre latrine building and the provision of pit emptying services more closely linked than in other places. This is described in the Sugden Blantyre Trip report of 2010.

What people are paying now is not always a useful guide and can be an easy get out. A more useful indicator is ‘Disparity’, which is a proxy indictor for demand. If somebody pays $200 for a house, then $30 represents a large investment, if somebody $10,000 in building a house then $30 for a latrine is nothing? People who build nice houses (cement rendered, grill on the window, tie roof etc) generally have more money, a perceived higher status and higher aspirations. I remember talking to such a house owner in Blantyre and them being acutely embarrassed by their $30 latrine. These are the customers for the Durasan.

The other indicator which makes me question the reliance on the survey date is that the Malawi CP has reported they have facilitated the building of 6,000 latrines. People would have paid a lot more than $30 for these.

I’ve dug up another Market Survey carried out in 2010, which you probably have not seem and re-emphasizes the need for KP. It states

“From the marketing of latrines point of view, it is interesting to see that 98% of the very rich and 87% of the rich are using latrines below their wealth status. This confirms the difficulties households have in maintaining access to good quality latrines and the selling potential of an affordable, highly desirable, permanent latrine. Latrines, like mobile phones, are status symbols and a method of visibly displaying to the neighbors, friends and family the social standing of the user within the community. Relatively rich people will not like ... (more)

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I have dug up the Rapid Market assessment carried out by TEECs which may also be of interest.

One part which caught me eye states

Currently there are 74,415 latrines that need upgrading or replacing in the LIAs alone; and every year there are 3,500 more required. This translates to a potential market to the tune of between US$2.6 million and US$4.5 million depending on the type of latrine considered. On the other hand, the potential market for pit emptying in the LIAs is estimated to range from US$1.8 million to US$9.5 million depending on whether mechanized or manual emptying is used, manual emptying being more lucrative. The effective demand for the sanitation services, however, will initially come from the 21% (rich and middle class) who can afford the services straight away. The demand will eventually grow with sustained awareness campaigns as to how the poor home owners (55%) can manage to build modern latrines with financing arrangements

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