Sometime last year, we started an article on converting waste to gold. This is a very powerful way of not only generating wealth from nothing, but at the same time healing the environment. As usual, several people scoffed at the idea that one can turn waste into wealth, and Millionaires Academy continued the project with our sister company and other strategic partners.
While this project is still in the pipeline, we will like to share this interesting project by a kindred spirit in Uganda, Samuel Malinga.
At just 26 years old, Samuel malinga has already perfected a system of turning toilet sludge into a useful product, and his project has already attracted millions in funding.
Young, creative and passionate about his community, Malinga is the archetypical African innovator. From a rural community in the very poor Kumi District of North East Uganda, Malinga grew up with the harsh socioeconomic challenges which pervade most African communities. At age 12 he moved to the Naguru slums in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, and there he was faced with the community-wide problem of poor sanitation and lack of proper faeces and waste management. These difficulties inspired Malinga to think up innovative solutions that would tackle head on the pervasive challenges in rural areas, like the one he hails from, and urban slums, like the one in which he grew up in.
Malinga began to develop designs for sludge management right after gaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering. Seeing how many of the households in his neighbourhood struggled with filled pit toilets, he came up with a desludging pump that empties the pits in a more effective, cleaner and less stressful way. Instead of disposing the waste, which would in turn only create more waste in a society already battling too much of it, he decided to also fashion out a way to reuse it, and thus came the idea of a cooking briquettes. However, it takes quite a process for the faeces in the pit latrines to transform into cooking fuel, and Malinga and his team built that process—in the form of a full-cycle sanitation service—from scratch.
The system begins with a modular latrine called the DuraSan which Malinga and his team made from durable, interlocking, precast concrete blocks. It is then followed by a low-cost pit emptying pump which he named the Rammer, a primary transportation device, and his self-developed Decentralized Faecal Sludge Treatment System (DFSTS).
Malinga says the DuraSan can be constructed within 2-3 days, is long-lasting, cheaper than digging the usual pits and detachable, meaning it can even be acquired on rent basis. The Rammer makes emptying full pits swift and clean, while to transport the sludge he can use a Pickup truck or PikiPiki, as tricycles are known in Uganda. The core of the job comes when the faeces arrive in his DFSTS, which he made with rota-mould plastic tanks. After it has undergone several treatment processes, Malinga and his team dry the solid portion of the sludge using solar power, feed it into a reactor unit which they also built themselves and burn it at a temperature of over 300°C in order to destroy all pathogens. Afterwards, if the sludge has a low clay content, it is mixed with molasses, if it is not, it goes straight into either stick or honeycomb mould to produce stick briquettes and honey comb briquettes respectively. While the Stick briquette is then dried for 3 days and can be used in the place of charcoal in a charcoal stove, the honeycomb briquette is dried for a further two days and has its own kind of stove. “They are not only low cost,” Malinga said, “they also burn longer and poultry farmers prefer them as a source of heat for their bird, and they help protect the environment.”
Malinga’s full cycle sanitation service gained international recognition when the Royal Academy for Engineering (RAENG) nominated him for its debut Africa Engineering Innovation award. The RAENG lauded his innovation for addressing the entire faecal sludge management chain in a continent where over 600 million people have no access to improved sanitation. In practice, the benefits of his work goes a lot farther than that.
It brings together the effort to improve public and community hygiene in order to fight the many diseases that their lack causes, such as diarrhea, with the global campaign to save the environment—from further deforestation and carbon emission—and at the same time creates badly needed jobs. The areas impacted by his innovation represents Malinga’s responses to the challenges he grew up with. “I am from a rural area so I understand the struggle of farmers and the general socioeconomic lack that we all face. I have also seen the negative impact of our reliance on charcoal and firewood for cooking on our environment. In Naguru I witnessed the unpleasant effects of poor sanitation, and these all inspired me to innovate solutions.”
As an entrepreneur himself, Malinga’s innovations are also commercially viable and adaptable beyond his country. “We are currently implementing some of our technologies in Kamwenge, Kampala, Wakiso, Jinja, Masaka, Mbarara, Kitgum, Bukedea districts in Uganda,” he said. “The desludging pump called the Rammer has been bought by WASH organisations in Kenya (Practical Action, UMANDE trust, and Waste Entreprisers), Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique.
“Several new entrepreneurs have also joined the pit emptying business, most of whom I have trained.”
Samuel malinga’s project has won several prizes and millions from organizations like RAENG, TEEF (Tony Elumelu’s Foundation), Total startupper of the year, Africa future awards, among others.
I hope this story will convince the critics that there is much wealth in waste. Nigeria is littered with mountains of waste which presents lots of opportunities, because there are so many things you can recycle back to wealth.
We urge young entrepreneurs to join Millionaires Academy as we blaze the trail of innovation in business. Those who will own the future, are those who create it. If your ideas are innovative, we will also help you attract funding from local and international agencies. Don’t worry about the billionaires today who are making money in oil, cement etc. Tomorrow, those that discover and exploit new opportunities, will be trillionaires. Mark Zuckerberg of Face Book owns no oil well, but is worth in excess of 20 Trillion Naira ! In creating massive wealth, natural resources is not the most important asset, Internal resources is your most valuable asset. Internal resources is inside you, and if you develop it well, you can have unlimited wealth. Click here to Join Millionaires Academy today. Fortune favours the brave.