Mobile Solutions for Sanitation

Completed in 2017

Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Peer-to-peer (P2P) business models have achieved scale globally and provided an organised way to collectively share resources. Could similar solutions reduce the barriers to share sanitation facilities in low income countries?

In 2016 and 2017, Inclusive Business Partners and Aqua for All carried out a project named ‘Peer-to-peer Business Models to Meet Sanitation Needs’. The project explored the potential of utilising P2P technologies or models to improve the sharing of existing sanitation services in developing markets, where access to sanitation is low while mobile and smartphone penetration is increasing.

The project focused on Nairobi, Kenya’s capital where 48% of the city’s population rely on shared or public toilet facilities. Shared toilets are a primary means of access to sanitation for many people in densely populated urban areas in Kenya and if well operated, they can provide an important solution for those who would otherwise have no access.

However, often public toilets do not meet basic levels of cleanliness and potential users often opt and instead use unimproved facilities or open defecation. Business owners are also concerned that staff, who collected revenues in cash, underreport number of visitors and steal part of the revenue.

Based on the insights of our research,  Inclusive Business Partners and Catino AB developed a prototype mobile app. It embodied the P2P characteristics, allowing users in Nairobi to find and rate public toilets and owners to give them to option to pay cashless via the app.

The implementation of the project showed the potential for motivating the owners to keep public toilets clean, hence promoting consistency of use of public sanitation facilities in Nairobi.

You can read the full report here.

The project was funded by TRANSFORM, a joint initiative between Unilever and the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) to support market-solutions for low-income household needs. Find out more on

Building on the project, a fully functional mobile app will be piloted and a conceptual business model will be developed together with key local stakeholders in 2020. We are also looking to collaborate with other actors in the WASH sector to bring this type of solution to market.

For more information about the project, please contact us on

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Mobile Solutions For Sanitation