In many ways, both small and large, corporations are stepping forward in unified support of combating the Coronavirus, some directly and others in somewhat indirect ways. One company in particular is quietly, making significant contributions to improve the health and lives of people throughout Africa in the name of sanitation, cleanliness and dignity. That company is Silafrica, a manufacturer and supplier of plastic and packaging solutions for corporations, consumer packaged goods (CPGs) and consumers. Silafrica recently took a decisive step to help East African communities combat the current health crises by retooling a portion of its manufacturing capabilities at its Kenya & Tanzania production facilities to increase faster and more affordable access to three much needed products throughout East Africa and beyond: high throughput touchless hand washing stations, closed-pit latrines or safe toilets, and PPE coveralls.
As recently reported by UNICEF, more than 5.6 million Kenyans are lacking access to a safe sanitary toilet and instead either open defecate or use open-pit latrines from whcih flies come out and spread disease. For high density low income residential areas, this is a time bomb waiting to explode as compromised health & immunity among any population is the last thing we need during this Covid19 crises. To tackle this humanitarian crisis, and in realizing the goal of safe and affordable toilets for the general population, Silafrica is working in conjunction with SATO, a leader in sanitation solutions and part of the LIXIL group, the world’s largest toilet manufacturer which also includes American Standard among its many well-known brands.
“We are proud to be partnering with SATO, and a true innovator in this category and the leader in sanitary solutions that provide affordable and easy-to-install safe closed pit-latrine toilets to vulnerable communities throughout East Africa,” states Silafrica’s group executive director, Akshay Shah.
The proven and durable SATO designs include toilets in three formats, a stool version and two squate plate versions; one basic squatting style and one with a foot pad area, which would be ideal for more rural environments where the surface area may be dirt versus cement or tiling. All three models come with an automatic closing mechanism to reduce odor and more importantly, prevent flies from coming out of the pit. The stool design is ideal for the elderly, pregnant women and children. The ultimate goal of Silafrica’s partnership with SATO is twofold – 1) to improve the health resilience of the general population who don’t have access to flush toilets, and 2) to give this population the dignity of having the basic human right to safe sanitation.
“Our relationship with SATO is just the latest example of Silafrica’s commitment to having a positive, meaningful social impact on the people and the communities we serve,” adds Shah. “Included in our recent efforts have been the production and distribution of safe hand washing units, remanufactured grid tiles for protecting agriculture output from soil erosion, PPE and a variety of other products that bring health and dignity to families throughout the region.”
Currently, Silafrica has the capability to produce 1,500 units per day in each country and can readily ramp up manufacturing capacity to twice that number. In the interest of serving the greater good, and reaching as broad a population as possible, Silafrica will be offering the toilets to local and regional communities for the most affordable price point. Production of the safe toilet designs are scheduled to begin immediately, with Silafrica factory workers going out into neighborhoods and communities to personally assist with installation. Silafrica welcomes other factories to join this cause and empower their factory workers to positively impact and contribute to vulnerable communities who need safe closed-pit latrine toilets to prevent the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery.