More than Just a Toilet: Fusing Innovation & Partnerships for a Better World 

Today, on World Toilet Day, we celebrate the advancements and alliances that help bring basic sanitation to thousands of people around the world. The sanitation solutions that we install and implement are only possible through our partnerships with innovators such as Pentair and KOHLER.

Below is an article that appears on KOHLER’s blog – a summary of how the KOHLER Pour Flush Toilet is changing lives in Honduras and Ghana. By providing access to private latrines, we’ve helped to decrease open defecation rates and give women and girls a safe, discreet place for their sanitation and hygiene needs.

Poverty-stricken communities in Honduras and Ghana have a new lease on a better life with safe water and sanitation solutions from Water Mission and iDE – supported by more than 3,000 KOHLER pour flush toilets. 

By Ratish Namboothiry, Associate Director-Innovation for Good at Kohler Co.

Each year, World Toilet Day (November 19) raises awareness of the crucial role that sanitation plays in reducing disease and creating healthier communities. At KOHLER, we’re committed to finding solutions for universal sanitation access by leveraging our design and innovation competencies and partnering with like-minded organizations to bring meaningful innovations to those communities most in need.

It’s time to shine a light on a sad and heartbreaking truth: each day, people are dying because of a lack of basic sanitation solutions.

According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF:

  • 1 in 3 people lack access to a toilet,
  • open defecation still exists for 10% of the population, and
  • women and girls around the world spend 266 million hours a day trying to find a safe and discrete place to go.

The result? Hygiene-related diseases, like diarrhea, that account for 1 million deaths annually. This must end. 

Partners like Water Mission and iDE are making a meaningful impact and changing the story for so many.

In January 2017, Water Mission initiated a Healthy Latrines™ program to provide safe sanitation to families in western Honduras. Enter the KOHLER Pour Flush Toilet – an affordable seated toilet that flushes when water is poured in by the user.

To date, Water Mission has impacted over 6,300 people by building Healthy Latrines™ that include a KOHLER pour flush toilet. Additional installations are currently under construction as part of a program to reach 5,000 families in five years. The organization provides the toilet to the families, who in turn are asked to help build the Healthy Latrines.

“We like the Kohler toilet because it is designed to be practical in its installation,” remarked Hector Chacon, Water Mission’s country director in Honduras. Moreover, individuals take great pride in the design and in working to improve general sanitation issues.

In addition to its longstanding partnership with Water Mission, KOHLER has also worked closely with iDE — a social enterprise organization that developed its own self-enclosed toilet. As part of an overall effort in Ghana (mind you, a place where just 67% of the population lives without access to a toilet), iDE’s brand, Sama Sama, chose the KOHLER Pour Flush Toilet as an option for those individuals requiring a sitting model – such as families with older members or those with special needs.

To date, Sama Sama has installed 354 KOHLER toilets and has praised the low-flush design – a critical element in areas where water is scarce.

Sama Sama managing director Osei Agyeman-Buahin said the goal is to consistently innovate to diversify its offering for a diverse customer base.

One customer described why she chose the KOHLER Pour Flush Toilet: “The toilet uses little water to flush. It is easy to clean and very nice looking. We are old and the sitter is very comfortable – it helps us with our knee pains.” 

Our goal is to provide safe sanitation solutions for all and to continue to push ourselves to innovate, iterate, and improve upon the solutions we provide. Innovation for Good is KOHLER’s internal incubator designed to find new business opportunities that have a social purpose, as they align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At KOHLER, we lean into our water and sanitation innovation expertise to create products and solutions that can provide meaningful change.

If we’re going to put an end to the sanitation crisis, the time for real action and strong partnerships is now. A better world awaits.

Learn more about our safe water and sanitation solutions

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