Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Turning waste into water

Early in 2017, we began working in partnership with Deakin University to develop and test creative new 3D printing technology to support our water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programming. The unit pulls together three technologies: solar power, plastic recycling and 3D printing and aims to produce reliable and useful spare parts for water supply systems.  

One of the drivers for this is the prohibitively high cost of spare parts for water supply systems in remote island communities (it is the community’s responsibility to maintain their water system) and the growing supply of waste plastics available for re-purposing.  

Deakin University’s passionate staff are working on this project in their state-of-the-art Centre for Advanced Design in Engineering Training (CADET) in Waurn Ponds, Geelong, Victoria, where early results are promising.  

Once we have some robust solutions, we’re planning to test them in the field with some of Plan International’s local partners in Solomon Islands later in 2017.  We’ve already printed some great prototypes of High-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe fittings from 100% recycled plastics and have some engineering students running quality tests to ensure durability and pressure ratings.  

There are of course many other applications that we see 3D printing (particularly using recycled plastics) being well suited to in future. This is just the beginning.

Stay tuned!

The team at Deakin University.

The toilet pan entrepreneur

Becoming an entrepreneur never crossed the mind of Agnes Jenie Ngganggus, mother of two children from Kupang, Indonesia. Yet now, from the sales of toilet pans she can afford to employ two workers to help grow her business and is improving her family's livelihood. On top of this, her business is helping communities in the province who still practice open defecation to get access to improved sanitation.

“At first, I joined the Sanitation Entrepreneur Training from Plan International in 2014. I was so enthusiastic to receive training on latrine construction, especially to produce toilet pans. I was interested to start a toilet pan business because until now there were only a handful of people selling them. I thought to myself, this is a good opportunity in Kupang.”

Her husband was retired at the time which meant they could both work the business together and he could apply his masonry skills. Four months after the training, the couple worked together to make their first fiberglass mould. “Our mould was considered to be good and appropriate. Then we met our fellow trainee, Osden, who also opened a latrine business. He ordered 10 toilet pan moulds. We filled that order within five days by using two master moulds from Suwardi from Plan Indonesia. Ever since, Mr Osden has become a loyal customer,” Jenie explains.

Jenie's business has been growing fast ever since. She gets promotional support from the Kupang Sanitation Entrepreneur Association, making her products popular in the neighbouring districts in need. East Manggarai District once ordered 50 units and one Cooperative ordered 35 units. She once received an order from Kupang District for 90 units. Since 2014 Jenie has sold over 2,000 toilet pans.

Jenie and her husband further developed their business into pre-cast concrete. She also sells Uppox paint – a specific paint for ceramics and has opened up training services for toilet pan manufacture. She also now makes portable latrines for people with disabilities.  

Now, Jenie is the most sought after toilet pan manufacturer in the Province. She never imagined she would be an entrepreneur. Now she is the top female toilet pan entrepreneur in Kupang.