February 20, 2017: Enviu, developer of innovative social enterprises received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to start the programme SaniNation to develop businesses in the Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) sector in India. Current FSM practices in India cause a serious threat to our environment and to human health in India. SaniNation curates promising business models focused on treatment and resource recovery from across the globe, and adopts the models to the local context in urban areas of India. Currently the organisation is looking for local collaborations with government agencies, seasoned entrepreneurs and businesses in India.
SaniNation brings existing and viable business innovations from over the world to India and adapts the business models to the local context in urban areas of India. The most promising models are matched with existing local businesses, local governments and entrepreneurs that will introduce at least three of them to India by the end of the three-year program period.
Value locked in human waste
“Faecal Sludge Management is not typically a hot topic at the dining table. The wow-factor to make the sector more attractive for talented and ambitious entrepreneurs is missing. However, human waste treatment, reuse and its conversion into valuable by-products presents an underexplored business opportunity”, says Luan Nio from Enviu. The yet unexplored market of reusing human waste offers a great number of hidden business opportunities. Faecal sludge can for example be processed into solid fuel, organic fertilizer, insect-based animal feed, biogas, or even building materials.
Improving Indian health and environment
Faecal Sludge Management represents massive issues related to health and environment in India. While the sanitation infrastructure has been reasonably improved under the Indian Government’s Total Sanitation Campaign, faecal sludge is often still not disposed and treated in a safe way. Human waste is often discharged into storm drains, waterways, or landfills due to a lack of proper infrastructure, equipment and incentives. This leads to the contamination of water sources, which has destructive consequences to human health and environment.
The organization is currently looking for interested businesses, seasoned entrepreneurs and local governments in India and that would like to explore the competitive value of human waste.