“What your poo can do for you.” Day 2 of the Innovation Directors’ Lab Visit #uinnovate

Today started with entrepreneurs and ended with biogas toilets and an amazing dinner.  In between we had original songs performed for us and I had to speak to 2,000 primary students.  It was another great day.

We started with a convening of top entrepreneurs and thinkers in the Ugandan innovation space.  The one big request was for UNICEF to bring together a similar group regularly.  Sometimes the best solutions are simple ones.

James Wire talked about his work and issues of female entrepreneurship .


We had a boxed lunch packed.  And apples wrapped.


On the way to our first site visit we are briefed on why pit latrines are important, and why they get full so quickly.  We are also told that a new solution (Engineered Micro-Organisms) can both reduce the bulk of fecal matter and also reduce the smell to nothing.  We are skeptical.


We arrive at a primary school and sign in.


We are walked to the latrine area


They are actually pretty not-smelly, as far as latrines go.  But you can definitely tell they’re there.


We put a small mount of EMO (essentially a yeast) in jerry cans of water, and pour it into the latrines.


Within a matter of minutes the smell is totally gone.


We then go to our second school.  This one has 2,500 students.


We get an explanation of their bio gas effort…and then I am asked to speak to them.  It reminds me of a similar size group of students in Kitgum.  I tell them, truthfully, that solutions for their problems will be best found with them, and through their learning.


We then go and see the bio gas toilet where waste is turned into manure and cooking gas.


The manure is used to fertilize bananas and avocados.


The gas for fire works (a picture as proof)


The head teacher of the school provided us with a set of feedback and challenges, and asked for our help to answer them.


Christopher Fabian

Kampala, Uganda

5 March, 2013


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