Downstream of the Toilet: Transforming Poo into Profit Briefing Note

Downstream of the Toilet: Transforming Poo into Profit Briefing Note, 2012. USAID WASHplus. 

Ambositra is a sprawling regional capital of 40,000 people situated in the central highlands of Madagascar. While the cities’ 12 neighborhoods are considered to have 100 percent latrine coverage, they lack centralized sewerage and wastewater treatment facilities. Eighty-two percent of the estimated 3,500 household toilets in Ambositra are dry pit latrines with storage volumes of 12m3 on average, and 17 percent drain into an on-site septic tank with 3m3 of storage capacity. A 2011 household survey estimates that more than 600 household latrines become full each year. Traditional fecal sludge management (FSM) practices consist of either rebuilding the latrine (more than 60 percent of the pit latrines are handled in this manner) or hiring day laborers to manually remove the sludge and dispose of the waste in a river or rice field.

To address this gap in environmentally sound waste management practices, WASHplus engaged the international NGO Practica ( to design and pilot a private-sector service delivery model to sustain-ably manage fecal sludge generated in the city using low-cost decentralized technologies. Working closely with the commune authorities, the project selected and trained a local entrepreneur, developed a sludge burial site, experimented with a range of manual extraction methods and tools, and engaged in a social marketing campaign to promote the service.

Publication Type: 
Publication Date: 
October 2013
WASH, WASHplus, FHI 360, USAID, Madagascar

fhi360 care Winrock International

The information provided on this web site is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.