Global Health Ideas

Finding global health solutions through innovation and technology

Cemforce: Appropriate Sanitation Technology

I learned about this company via the Loo Factory blog which is described at the bottom of this post. Cemforce, established in 1997, specialises in appropriate sanitation technologies for rural communities in Southern Africa. The focus of the organization includes the social enrichment and empowerment of its employees and the communities it serves. Since inception 100 000+ toilets have been installed throughout Southern Africa. The Cemforce Easy Loo systems consist of lightweight precast Glass Reinforced Concrete panels that are fixed together to form a toilet structure. Cemforce is involved in job creation and supporting locally owned enterprise. In 2002, Cemforce enabled Izwelethu-Cemforce a company owned 100% by women, to become a marketer and supplier of all Cemforce Easy Loo products…Izwelethu-Cemforce, has improved access to sustainable, cost-effective sanitation facilities for over 20 000 households.


The Loo Factory‘ is a blog about a British Graduate Engineer who is assisting a small NGO in South Africa to develop a latrine which can be mass-produced (to allow quality control) and lightweight (so it can be easily transported to site). The idea is that this can be sold to the South African government, as part of its ongoing strategy to improve sanitation in the country. The engineer is a volunteer with the British charity ‘Engineers Without Borders’, who posted him to South Africa for 6 months. If you’d like to check it out, go to…

Other related reads:
-The irony of modern slums in India, link
Design for the other 90%, NYC Exhibit, link


Written by Aman

May 1, 2007 at 4:59 am

Posted in Global Health

4 Responses

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  1. Re: Honesty about Negative results

    Hooray for Adam Robinson of Solar San, who just contacted me to say that they have decided that their prototype has a design failure, so is not feasible.

    We need more people like Adam who help us move forward by letting us know what doesn’t work. This is a huge problem in medical research, where only positive results are published, and we all waste time in replicating things other people have found to fail.


    May 4, 2007 at 3:41 am

  2. The Easy Loo is definitely used extensively in Khayelitsha, Cape Town South Africa. New informal settlements areas first get the Easy Loo installations. Will be interesting to hear local opinions on it.

    A second to what Rob says – the Enviro Loo from South Africa, which won the 2005 Tech Museum Award, is created by the same guy behind Eloo: Dr. Brian LaTrobe .

    Interestingly, all this reminded me of a local sanitation project, Solar San in South Africa, that uses the sun and wind to process human waste – it is a waterless dehydration system (using urine diversion). About 800 units have been installed in two provinces, with expansion to a third. The oldest units are two years old, some of them were prototypes and as such failed. Those that were further down the development line are still functioning.

    Here are some notes from the founder, Adam Robinson
    The salient points on the Solar San are –
    • The faeces is rendered comparatively safe through three processes; dessication, heat and storage
    • It needs no water, other than for hand washing
    • There is little smell
    • The user has a clean loo each time as the faeces is ‘flushed’ after each use
    • The units are completely sealed; i.e. no possible contamination of the ground water
    • Especially useful in areas of a high water table or where excavation is difficult.
    • Especially useful where the honey-sucker can’t reach. Easy operation and maintenance.
    • Easy to install. A man day for each unit
    • Easy to transport
    • Can be un-installed and re-used
    • Can be installed inside a house


    May 2, 2007 at 5:19 am

  3. Rob – thanks for the comment and info on “Eloo”, I actually had not heard of it. I am actually going to try to start documenting information on domestic/local innovations in health and will write a post on the connection between global and local health. For the rest of you, the PDF for the 10 Innovative technologies Rob referred to can be found here:


    May 1, 2007 at 8:56 pm

  4. Aman:

    Thanks for posting. I have also been approached by a similar firm/technology called Enviro Fit (in South Africa) and their US distributor, Clean Up America. They feature the “Eloo” and more can be found at It always impresses me when organizations/corporations adopt a “developing world” solution for use in the US. You may have already blogged about this before since it was included in the Stanford Social Innovation Review of last year that included 10 Innovative Technologies that Create Social Change. Just thought I’d add it to the list…

    Thanks and keep up the great work.


    Rob Steiner

    May 1, 2007 at 2:10 pm

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