Sustaining Sanitation: Susamati’s Story
The sanitation crisis across the African region requires a lot of attention. In Mozambique, the USAID notes that 16 percent of all deaths can be attributed to inadequate Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) practices. To help alleviate this problem, social enterprise Susamati is providing environmental and sanitation solutions to the marginalized in Mozambique. Founder Manuel Gungulo’s story began by chance and has taken many twists and turns, all of which have proved to be very influential in his growth as a formidable social entrepreneur.
Having experienced abject poverty from a young age, Manuel knew he wanted to be a part of the change and transform his community. A chance encounter with renowned Swiss architect Bjorn Brandberg (architect of the famous pit latrine) resulted in Manuel working on the Biological Urban Sanitation Project (BUSP), whose aim was to create an innovative solution to Mozambique’s sanitation issues. Today, Susamati has created Pia Fantastica, a toilet seat that besides being colorful and being the cheapest sanitation solution in the market, uses only one glass of water for each flush. They are currently testing the use of Black Soldier fly larvae that when inoculated in the pit, can consume the fecal sludge reducing the need for emptying.
As an innovator, Manuel has encountered many obstacles, especially when it comes to shifting mindsets among his potential customers. It took a while for people to accept his product but through this experience, his first batch of customers assumed the role of brand ambassadors. The enterprise sells the toilets directly to families from their workshop but they have also partnered with NGOs and development agencies who contract them to build toilets in some communities at no cost to the end-user. Susamati has won various accolades and has also become an Environmental and Sanitation advocate across Mozambique.