Rural improvement of sanitation through enterprise

Slabs on sale - widescreen

Title Rural Improvement of Sanitation Through Enterprise (RISE)
Description In rural northern Uganda, most families do not have access to an ‘improved’ latrine. With a primary focus on dignity and health, the RISE project aims to make improved sanitation available across 20 rural communities. The project trains two people from each community on business management, basic accounting and concrete working, and equips them with the tools and materials to sell sanitation platforms (‘sanplats’) commercially, but at affordable prices, in their communities. There is also an emphasis on enabling the poorest in the communities and the surrounding churches to have access to sanplats.
Status Implementation
Dates Start: May 2015; End: December 2016
Implementing partner Cyan International (Uganda) in partnership with Gulu New Life Baptist Association (GNLBA), Amuru Baptist Association, Nwoya Baptist Association
Location Gulu, Amuru and Nwoya Districts, northern Uganda
Sector Sanitation


Lack of access to ‘improved’ pit latrines: Our community-based research carried out in 2014 found that only 14% of households had an improved pit latrine (defined as having at least a concrete or plastic slab). The majority of households (60%) had either an open pit or a pit latrine without a slab.

Latrines in poor condition: The latrines observed in the survey were found to be in a poor condition, which is a causal factor of diarrhoea and related diseases. Along with the prevalent smell, they are also usually without a roof and often lacking full height walls – a combination which compromises peoples’ dignity.

Poor hygiene practice: Only 13% of those surveyed washed their hands after defecating, even though many knew that they needed to. This has implications for community health.


Cyan UgandaCyan International (Uganda) is a branch office of Cyan.

In this project, Cyan Uganda is working in partnership with Gulu New Life Baptist Association (GNLBA), Amuru Baptist Association and Nwoya Baptist Association.


Constructing sanplatThe project uses a social marketing approach to make affordable sanitation platforms (‘sanplats’), or slabs, readily available for 20 rural communities. The project will train two residents from each community, providing a non-agriculture based livelihood for 40 people based. A key concern for the project is to ensure that the poorest people have affordable access to improved latrine facilities, as nearly all families surveyed expressed a desire to have a sanplat.

There will also be a focus on communicating the importance of maintaining good hygiene standards through having two Hygiene Promotion (HP) sessions per community. This will not only tackle the health implications associated with poor latrine conditions, but will promote a feeling of pride and dignity within families.

The local church will play a key role in the project. Having installed improved latrines themselves, they will communicate with their local community about the importance of improved sanitation and hygiene and offer people the opportunity to experience a well-kept toilet or hand-washing facility. They will also feed back to the project team as to how the developments are going.


Training completedSo far (12 months into the project), 18 people have been trained and nine businesses set up across the communities. Across the 20 communities, two of the four training courses have been completed, and 5 of 40 social marketing and HP events have taken place. These have involved music, drama and demonstrations of the product.

In the next 6 months, the local churches will have their improved sanitation facilities installed. Two monitoring and evaluation visits will be undertaken by the HP team, with ongoing checks carried out by local churches.

By the completion of the project, 20 churches and 987 households will have improved sanitation facilities.

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