Background & Objective:

FINISH (Financial Inclusion Improves Sanitation & Health) Mondial ( is an ambitious, 6-country WASH programme aiming to substantially scale up the access and use of safe sanitation in Africa and Asia. FINISH started in India (2009) with the aim of building a local system to deliver sanitation services on a large scale. The FINISH approach ensures that people are aware of the need for a safe and durable toilet, people want to buy one, it is built and safely managed by local people and furthermore, is affordable. This is achieved by a combined effort of four key actors in the Diamond Model domains who jointly work towards the development of local sanitation markets for inclusive, sustainable scale. To date, FINISH Mondial has constructed over 1 million toilets (and counting!), providing access to safe sanitation for well over 5 million people.

FM understands existing sanitation systems must be affordable so that millions of people in developing countries, which do not have proper sanitation facilities, will invest and own one. FM continues to innovate and (incrementally) lower the cost of existing sanitation technologies to be able to reach scale. Further, FM strives to make sanitation facilities available and affordable to millions of people in the developing world. To achieve this, FM is organizing a sanitation contest and challenging innovators to come up with ways to bring the cost of a sanitation system further down.

This contest is based on the premise that amongst other factors, lack of sanitation coverage (in rural populations of developing countries), is due to lack of innovation on cost reductions, to make them more accessible to the masses. We invite you to rise to the challenge and propose an ‘innovation’ in one or more of the components of an onsite sanitation system to facilitate the installation and usage of toilets in developing countries, preferable in one the FINISH Mondial countries (India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania & Ethiopia). The innovation can be created through novel design and/or novel choice of materials used and/or a new process and/or any other component that will help to reduce the cost of a sanitation system.

Why this sanitation challenge?

This contest is based on one of the key fundamentals of the FINISH programme: the need to reduce costs of sanitation systems. The design is targeted to incrementally lower the cost of sanitation systems. We are NOT looking for big technology breakthroughs, but small improvements in existing designs that can reduce the cost of construction or at the same cost, improve its usefulness and client satisfaction.

What are we looking for?

A sanitation system comprises a super-structure (the “house”), a meso-structure (slab/pan/seat) and a sub-structure. For each of these categories the solution may apply. As part of the competition, technical designs, instrumentation, graphic presentation and bill of quantities of different solutions will be part of the competition package. We are looking for ‘cost reduction in sanitation’ in one or more of the three following elements: (1) Super-structure; (2) Meso-structure; (3) Sub-structure.

What are we NOT looking for?
  • This challenge is not about designing new toilets. We are not looking for a completely new sanitation system.
  • Cost reductions on Urine Diversion Dehydration Toilets (UDDTs) UDDTs are an interesting alternative, but not part and parcel of the FINISH Mondial mason capacity development programme, as its adaptation requires continued behavioural change communication and therefore not included in this contest.
  • Cost reduction for toilets connected to a biogas digester. These systems are another viable option. Yet, constructing a biogas digester requires a specific skill set and is not directly a subject of the FINISH Mondial mason capacity development programme and is therefore, not included in this contest.
  • Cost reduction on systems that are known under various names such as Arberloo (detachable supers and meso-structured that are moved to a newly dug pit, once the earlier pit is full and a tree sampling is put in the erstwhile pit), fossa alterna (moveable super-structure between two pits), Balram system (series of connected tanks that treat human waste).
What are our preferred onsite sanitation systems?

FINISH Mondial has selected several sanitation technologies. FM focuses and widely implements the following three onsite sanitation systems.

For detailed information, please see Annex 1 on procedures/guidelines and Annex 2 on point to consider.

Practical Information

  1. A detailed design that best explains your ideas. This could be in the form of technical drawings, 3D virtual models, sketches presented in the form of jpg, pdf, jpgs, mov or other widely used format. Please save the file under the name “Last Name_Design_Sanitation Challenge 2020”
  2. A detailed calculation of the cost saved. Please save the file under the name “Last Name_Cost_Sanitation Challenge 2020”
  3. The list of assumptions – of location, whom it is meant for, soil and weather conditions. Please save the file under the name “Last Name_Assumptions_Sanitation Challenge 2020”
  4. Send files to or submit your solution here!
Evaluation Criteria:
  1. Cost reduction in material use, including use of cheap but quality materials
  2. Cost reduction in terms of less wastage
  3. Cost reduction in terms of less number of people engaged (Time or absolute number)
  4. Speed (time) of construction that lead to reduction of cost
  5. Simplicity of construction /installation of (part of) a sanitation system
  6. Consideration of sludge management (such as simplicity of emptying, onsite treatment etc.)
  7. Climate elements (water usage and carbon footprint of materials used)
  8. Suitability for the environment and context it is designed for
  9. Amenability to local modifications
  10. Aesthetics and appeal
  1. First prize : € 3,000 + actual implementation of your solution in one of the FINISH Mondial countries (other than the country you have first worked out the solution).
  2. Second prize : € 2,000
  3. Third prize : € 1,000
The Judges
  • Jack Sim, Founder World Toilet Organisation (Chair)
  • Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder Sulabh International (Member)
  • Matteus van der Velden, WSSCC (Member)
  • Julie Aubriot, UNICEF (Member)
  • Manoj Gulati, (Member)
  • Valentin Post, FINISH Mondial (Secretary)
Judging Procedure

The submissions will be transferred without details of identity of contestants to all partners of the FINISH consortium, which will first grade the entries according to a well-defined set of criteria. The best 5-8 entries will then be submitted to an international panel of 7 judges who will make the final selection.

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