Pro Bono Work - UNICEF

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UNICEF, Toilet sanitation project


Atelier JV was approached by UNICEF, Malawi in February 2013 to develop ideas for effective construction of low cost toilets across villages in Africa. A far too common problem experienced by Sub-Saharan villages is that of inadequate sanitation technology; designs that were either unsafe or too expensive. "Most of the designs on the market for low-cost sanitation developed over the last twenty years involved concrete"; concrete which the locals cannot even afford to put in their own homes, let alone their toilets! UNICEF’s project was to not only develop user-designed sanitation technologies that the locals are comfortable with, but also to promote individuals as toilet builders with the tools to run their own business.

Much to the delight of the communities and UNICEF Malawi, Atelier JV incorporated these many considerations into their final design. From October 2013, these individuals have been given the license to use UNICEF's patented sanitation design to ensure that the structures could be realised in a vast number of Malawian villages.

Key Structural Design Features

Three design directions were identified to create a toilet that matched what villages want, need and can afford to build using local materials. Mix designs for mortar using natural pozzalans such as rice husk ash and burnt brick dust were tested in conjuction with Mzuzu University to find the strongest construction technique for the toilet. 

  1. Corbelled pit brick dome (suitable for clay soils)
  2. Sandbag buttress (suitable for sandy soils)
  3. Trapezium brick product manufacture