To make sure we develop sanitation solutions people want and will use, we’re testing our innovations with consumers at every stage. We recently introduced the Tiger Toilet concept to people in the test market of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s principal city.
We explained the idea in writing, showed them diagrams of the toilet and gave them a bag of compost to represent the volume and texture of waste they’d have to empty. How did they feel about worm-based technology and Tiger Toilet construction, emptying and affordability? Would they make a trade-off between initial purchase price and future savings in emptying frequency?
Towards a prototype
Our research showed that consumers saw the Tiger Toilet as:
Meeting their needs
People understood the concept easily and showed genuine desire for an affordable sanitation solution that addresses the problems associated with pit latrines. A system that allows DIY emptying of small quantities of dry waste on a regular basis had definite appeal. People were comfortable with the idea of worms treating the waste, and made trade-offs between initial purchase price and savings in emptying costs.
People saw the core strength of the concept as that it promises them control:
- Financial (removing the unpredictable and often unaffordable costs of full pits)
- Logistical (removing the need to deal with often unreliable workmen for installation and emptying).
Practical and safe
The shallower, smaller pit needed for the Tiger Toilet was a significant benefit, making construction quicker, safer, cheaper and less disruptive.
These findings give us a springboard to test prototype Tiger Toilets in the UK and Dar Es Salaam. Then we’ll learn more about how people react to the real emptying process and how they might dispose of the treated waste.
Read the research report here and follow our progress in the coming months.