It was all-hands-on-deck this past August in Addis Ababa when an Ethiopian architect, expert from Sanergy, a sanitation social enterprise based in Kenya, PSI’s WASH coordinator and the distinct and talented team from PSI Ethiopia gathered at the PSI-Ethiopia office.
Their objective: to design a high-quality, pay-for-use toilet that will help to address the urban sanitation crisis faced in Addis Ababa.
Rapid migration from rural areas to the city, in addition to an onslaught of new municipal-wide government infrastructure projects, have resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of people, many of whom are forced to reside in informal settlements. Without secure land tenure, or even the physical space, many households are unable to build a toilet to use at home. As a result, poor urban Ethiopians are often forced to defecate in plastic bags which are then thrown into the open — commonly referred to as flying toilets. Others defecate under the shelter of darkness, a practice which exposes women and children, in particular, to embarrassment and risk of assault.