More Than Just a Toilet: Fusing Partnerships for a Better World

Nov 18, 2019 12:00 PM ET

It’s time to shine a brighter light on a sad and heartbreaking truth: each day people are dying  because of a lack of basic sanitation solutions.  
According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, 1 in 3 people lack access to a toilet, open defecation still exists for 10% of the population, and women and girls spend 266 million hours a day trying to find a safe and discrete place to go. The result? Hygiene-related diseases, like diarrhea, that account for 1 million deaths annually.  This has to end. 
Partners like Water Mission and iDE are making a meaningful impact and changing the story for so many. 

In January 2017, Water Mission initiated a Healthy LatrinesTM program to provide safe sanitation to families in in western Honduras.   Enter the KOHLER Pour Flush Toilet – an affordable seated toilet that flushes when water is poured in by the user.  To date, Water Mission has impacted over 6,300 people by building Healthy LatrinesTM that include a Kohler pour flush toilet. Additional installations are currently under construction as part of a program to reach 5,000 families in five years .The organization provides the toilet to the families, who in turn, are asked to help build the Healthy Latrines.  

“We like the Kohler toilet because it is designed to be practical in its installation,” remarked Hector Chacon, Water Mission’s County Director in Honduras. Moreover, individuals take great pride in the aspirational design and working to improve general sanitation issues. 

In addition to its longstanding partnership with Water Mission, Kohler has also worked closely with iDE – a social enterprise organization that developed its own self-enclosed toilet.  As part of an overall effort in Ghana (mind you, a place where just 67% of the population lives without access to a toilet), iDE’s brand Sama Sama chose the KOHLER pour flush toilet as an option for those individuals requiring a sitting model, such as families with older members or those with special needs. The Government of Canada provides funding for iDE’s projects and to date, Sama Sama has sold 354 KOHLER toilets, and praised the low-flush design as being critical in areas where water is scarce.

Sama Sama Managing Director Osei Agyeman-Buahin said the goal is to consistently innovate to diversify its offering for a diverse customer base. One customer described why she chose the Kohler pour flush toilet, "The toilet uses little water to flush. It is easy to clean and very nice looking. We are old and the sitter is very comfortable - it helps us with our knee pains.” 

“Our goal is to provide safe sanitation solutions for all and to continue to push ourselves to innovate, iterate and improve upon the solutions we provide,” said Ratish Namboothiry, Associate Director-Innovation for Good. Innovation for Good is an innovation incubator designed to find new business opportunities that have a social purpose aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If we’re going to put an end to the sanitation crisis, the time for real action and strong partnership is now. A better world awaits.”