Team #1 // ContainIt

Executive Summery

Kisumu is the fastest growing city in east Africa with an annual GDP growth of 9% in 2017 [1]. This growth puts a high demand on building infrastructure to support the vast amount of people from the country side moving to the city. Currently one of the main problems of the city is that 67% of the fecal sanitation flow is not being contained and is being dumped at the outskirts of the city where the poorest people live [2].

To address this problem, we have designed ContainIt. ContainIt is a biodegradable cylinder-shaped box made from local materials. We aim to create a value chain where every stakeholder will benefit from our solution. This ensures that the box will be used and be an integrated part of the everyday life of citizens in the outskirts of Kisumu. Additionally, our solution will support the local entrepreneurial spirit creating jobs for the poorest people in city by providing them with jobs that gives them access to a reliable income.


How can we create an innovative solution to Kisumu’s sanitation challenge that is inclusive in nature and delivers continuous impact at scale?

Target user / Customer

The user of ContainIt will be people living in the outskirts of Kisumu where they have no access to proper free toilets. To start with we aim to help the segment of people currently openly defecating or paying to use latrines. This target group is where our solution will have the highest impact and it is therefore a natural choice for testing the product.

Your solution and how the concept is feasible

Our solution starts just off the coast of Kisumu on the Victoria lake, where an invasive species of water hyacinth has grown out of proportion, disrupting the natural ecosystem around the city [3]. The plant fibers of water hyacinth can be used as material for the creation of ContainIt, helping to get rid of the invasive species. It is possible to make a strong and reliable material by using a novel technology build on mycelium found in fungi. The mycelium has the unique property of binding plant fibers together in a structure that has similarities to plastic but is also biodegradable. This makes a sustainable and recyclable product which will have a high impact in the future [4].

This material will help to simplify the downstream waste management in Kisumu. The ContainIt, a simple smell free compostation toilet, can easily be used in a small house. It only requires that the family adds dried plant material which would be provided in the form of water hyacinth from Lake Victoria. The box will be replaced by drivers every second week. The boxes will then be brought to the farmer, who will pay the drivers for the boxes. The farmer can then leave the ContainIt for final compostation and then use the content as fertilizer on the field. This means that even small-scale farmers have easy access to cheap and effective fertilizer.

This ensures a circular business model, which will give the poorest people in Kisumu a safe way to handle their waste products for free, instead of defecating in the streets or paying for it. The manufacturing of our product is dynamic, since the fungi can grow in any plant-based product, even organic waste and can grow in any given shape.

Four unique value propositions

Our product is sustainable and safe by using biodegradable material.
Product material offers huge flexibility and can be used for other innovative products.
Ensures free toilets compared to current solution.
Includes various stakeholders and helps them grow their own business.


In our assumptions we have a cost associated with starting the production of the boxes. It requires warehouse and manufacturing equipment which sums up to a total of approximately KSH 40 mil. We hope that this can be raised in collaboration with NGOs and local investors. The boxes can be made for KSH 50 and sold for 200 a piece to a distributing driver. The driver will then bring the box out to the families around every 2nd week. He will take the full box of the hands of the family which can then be sold to a farmer. We estimate that a reasonable price for this would be KSH 260, which will offer the farmer a much cheaper alternative to buying fertilizer and has been shown by competitors to increase crop yield up to 30% [5,6].


Our goal will improve the quality of life in the fast-expanding sub-urban region of Kisumu. This will improve several SDG´s. The main goal is to improve on SDG no. 11, where we make sustainable communities in the city. Since our solution will help making a sustainable handling of sanitary waste we are addressing SDG 3 and 6 because of improved safety for citizens and a more sanitary environment which leads to improving the overall health in the community. Additionally, we include several stakeholders in our value chain which leads to an inclusive business that can help other local businesses in growing and expanding leading to more jobs in the community (SDG no. 8).

Link for more information

[1]: economies-2017-top-10-african-cities-growth-2017/


[3]: 2019-02-lake-victoria-green-africa-blue

[4]: ecovativedesign/mycocomposite




We are a group of four biotechnology students at DTU who are passionate in using biological solutions to improve global sustainability issues. Our solution is based upon our bio-knowledge giving us an innovative approach to the challenge.

Group Members

Rasmus Wied Pedersen,
Theis Ferré Hjortkjær,
Troels Bagge Angelo,
Viktor Techen Lemgart,