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Without the help of our donors The Africa Trust would be
unable to continue its life changing work across Africa.
The Elephant Toilet

One of the biggest issues facing communities in rural Africa is poor sanitation. Cholera is expected to cause over one hundred thousand deaths this year, a number which could be significantly reduced if sanitation was improved.

The Africa Trust founder Ian Thorpe is responsible for creating a cost effective method to significantly improve sanitation within family homes – The Elephant Toilet. This design costs significantly less due to the materials required to construct the toilet, particularly cement.

The Elephant Toilet uses just two bags of cement rather than the seven bags that are used for the Blair/VIP Latrine design that the Government of Zimbabwe has selected as its standard technology for rural sanitation projects. The cement in the Elephant Toilet is mainly used to mould a reusable slab that sits above the main toilet pit.

The unique design enables the urine to pass into a second composting pit, which lengthens the life of the toilet and results in a rich source of compost. A clear plastic bottle covered in pin prick holes is placed at the top of the chimney creating an innovative ventilation system which also traps flies.

Seso or an alternative soap plant, is planted outside the toilet for disinfecting hands. A plastic container of water is hung outside the toilet with a ballpoint pen barrel and lid system to deliver small quantities of water to each user. Waste water from washing hands falls on the Seso plant, which helps with its propagation.

Once the pit of the toilet has reached full capacity the stone lining of the pit enables the user to plant a productive fruit tree in its place and move the reusable slab for a new toilet.

In 2008 Ian Thorpe became the first person ever to collect the St Andrews Medal for the Environment for two separate designs (The Elephant Pump/The Elephant Toilet). A spokesperson for the award recognised the Elephant Toilet as an ‘innovative and sustainable sanitation solution’ which could ‘benefit millions of people across Africa’.

The Elephant Toilet continues to be an integral part of our vision to eliminate poor sanitation in third world countries. Whilst thousands of toilets have been installed, the requirement for toilets is significant. For just £100 an Elephant Toilet can provide an entire family with the necessary technology to avoid sanitation issues that can cause cholera outbreaks.