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Toilets making a difference: LIXIL’s SATO helping to achieve UN SDGs

An estimated 2 billion people worldwide do not have access to basic sanitation. Instead, they use latrines or holes in the ground which produce unpleasant odours, and attract insects which can carry diseases.

The lack of basic sanitation can contaminate water, cause preventable diseases and health issues. It can also be dangerous for children; especially girls.

“About 80% of the issues that present themselves in our facilities are sanitation-related,” says Dorothy A. Owino, County Executive Committee Member, in the County Government of Siaya’s Department of Health, Kenya. “So, once we improve sanitation, we are bound to improve the overall standard of living in these communities.”

 LIXIL, a maker of pioneering water and housing products that solve everyday, real-life challenges, has used its expertise to develop an affordable and innovative solution  to the traditional ‘hole-in-the-ground’ latrine, or ‘pit toilet’– the SATO toilet.

“SATO is a product that has been developed with the input of people who use pit toilets, and brings the benefits of a flush toilet, using much less water,” explained Jason Cardosi, Chief of Global Partnerships for LIXIL’s SATO business unit.

Also serving as a viable solution for areas where sewage systems haven’t reached, today LIXIL’s SATO is operating in 27 countries around the world, and 16 countries in Africa. Their aim, says Jason, is to create a sustainable social brand. In order to do so, it’s important for LIXIL to benefit local communities and their economies, and continue to make positive contributions to clean water and sanitation, globally.

Collaboration and localization are key aspects of managing their vision. LIXIL has been working with UNICEF, local governments, and business partners in Kenya to reach communities that need basic sanitation the most.  Together with their partners, LIXIL is informing communities on the importance of sanitation, manufacturing products locally and training members of the community to learn how to install SATO products themselves; all in an effort to make the business self-sustaining.

Dorothy acknowledges the positive impact these toilets have had, highlighting a reduction in diarrheal diseases, pneumonia and cholera. In fact, she says, there have been no cholera outbreaks in the village of Siaya, Kenya for over 2 years.

As one community leader explained, “In our community, as a mother, I am optimistic that things can be better. If everyone could have access to this product, it would be a good thing.”

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