Best Ideas 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.
Explain your idea in details:
San2Agri (or Sanitation2Agriculture) is an initiative of To The Waters, a social enterprise that promotes access to water, sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition. San2Agri specifically entails promoting the use of urine-diverting dry toilets (UDDTs), which are toilets that separate urine from feces. Waste from these toilets will be collected and treated to produce organic fertilizer. To The Waters is currently building 10 UDDT toilets for households in need of an improved sanitation facility in villages of Nyakarekare and Ruyenzi located in Mbuye sector, Ruhango in Rwanda. When To The Waters finishes building these toilet in mid-July 2019, households will be trained on how to use these toilets. As waste accumulates, it will be transported by a hired collector to a treatment site where the waste will be treated and transformed into organic fertilizer. The process that will be used to transform poop into fertilizers is called vermicomposting, where red worms (which are now being vermicultured) will feed on this organic matter, which will become a rich organic fertilizer in 2-3 months. Composted poop will be tried on different plants such as cassava, maize, and beans to determine the impact of this humanure on these plants. Communities really need San2Agri because not only do households use an improved sanitation facility, but they also get financial benefits. For instance, when a family starts using a UDDT, they will be enrolled in an informal saving group (ikimina in Kinyarwanda) in which individuals can borrow money to support their families. Secondly, when To The Waters sells organic fertilizer, some of the profits will be put into this saving group to financially support them. San2Agri will promote the use of UDDT and good hygiene practices in households, help farmers increase crop productivity, create job opportunities, and empower households to thrive.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
The first expected impact of San2Agri is the access to improved sanitation facilities in Mbuye sector. To The Waters would like to have at least 100 families before by the end of May 2020 using UDDTs in their households. Most people in Mbuye sector use pit latrines, which are not safe. Firstly, when these latrines are full, they are hard to empty, handle, and dispose. Secondly, they usually do not have a cover, which gives flies an opportunity to distribute microbes in a household. Also, infiltration from these latrines can mix up with groundwater, which leads to groundwater contamination. San2Agri will definitely preclude these problems as the idea of UDDTs is being adopted. Another important impact is the creation of jobs. To The Waters sees San2Agri as a great opportunity to improve the standards of living of people in Mbuye sector and beyond by creating work opportunities for them. We hope that toilet construction, waste collection, waste treatment, and the management of the To The Waters' farm where agricultural trials will be conducted, marketing, and other activities related to San2Agri will lead to jobs for community members. For instance, the current toilet construction has already provided temporary jobs to at least 20 people. Thirdly, economic development is a core impact of San2Agri. Through informal saving groups, households that will have adopted UDDTs will save money as a group and support themselves financially. And some of To The Waters' profits will also go to these saving groups. In addition, households will learn and apply practices for improving hygiene in households. The success of San2Agri will mainly be assessed by the number of families using UDDTs, the amount of waste being treated, the number of created jobs, and the effectiveness of composted poop, activeness of saving groups, and more.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
As a social enterprise, To The Waters, strives to prioritize people while also generating income to sustain the venture. To The Waters will firstly earn money through selling organic fertilizers and from other initiatives we hope to implement soon. Our business model is business to consumer since our products will be ready for direct use. Since To The Waters is at its early stage, To The Waters has been relying on grants to cover operations cost before revenue making. And, we hope to get more funding in the form of grants or awards. To The Waters is currently collaborating with the administration of Mbuye sector to navigate communities. We also look forward to collaborating with PitVidura, a social enterprise that empties pit latrines, for obtaining human waste to treat. In the near future, we hope to be working hands in hands with agricultural cooperatives, institutions involved in agriculture in Rwanda, and other partners that may align with our cause. If San2Agri succeeds in Mbuye sector, we hope to go to other sectors in Ruhango district, from there, to other districts of Rwanda where water and sanitation still need improvement. These districts include Karongi, Bugesera, Nyanza, Gisagara, and Burera. As we expand our initiative to other areas, we will be coming up with more innovative solutions to the problems that stem from water, sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition as it is the mission of To The Waters.
My name is Magnifique Mukundwa, and I am 23 years old. I was born and raised in Rwanda and moved to the United States for my undergraduate degree in environmental health - engineering, which I am completing next year. I am the co-founder and the CEO of To The Waters, a social enterprise that aims at using social innovation, entrepreneurship, and engineering to improve access to water, sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition (WASH-N) in developing nations. My motivation and dream are to see every human being have access to water and sanitation since they are human rights like others as it was declared by the UN in 2010. What has helped me get where I am today is my passion for humanity, determination, interest in empowering others, problem-solving skills, self-motivation and more. For awards and honors, I was awarded the 2018 Paul and Elizabeth Montle Prize at Tufts University in 2018 for entrepreneurial achievement. This award has tremendously opened up doors for me to pursue my entrepreneurial interests. In addition, I was selected as part of the 2018-2019 Laidlaw Scholars Research and Leadership Program. I have also received the 2018 Anne Boghersani Memorial Prize, the 2019 Cataldo Scholarship, the 2017-2018 National Society of Black Engineering Fulfilling the Legacy Scholarship Award, and more.