The Bio-Centre project in Nairobi is an example of a successful sanitation facility designed to meet the needs of large informal settlements. These facilities were implemented in informal settlements in Nairobi that had an extreme need for improved sanitation provisions. Below describes the benefits of a Bio-Centre approach, as well as many of the challenges this facility encountered in its implementation.



  • The design incorporates anaerobic digestion of human wastes to produce gas that can be used for cooking, electricity and heating (Mailutha 2010).
  • Preserves water and requires no connection to the sewer line.
  • Multi-story building allows room for public meeting spaces. These spaces are able to not only serve their immediate purpose of providing spaces for meetings, but facilitated community bonding and strengthening. Viewing these sanitation facilities as community spaces could also help to “[promote] health and hygiene initiatives” (Kenney 2011). A facility in Langrug may also serve this purpose.



  • Incorporating different groups into the implementation process brought about challenges in communication and accountability (Mailutha 2010). A clearer contract between the Athi Water Service Board, who has “ownership and holding of water and sewerage assets” (Mailutha 2010), and the Umande Trust, the contractor, may have made the project run more smoothly and efficiently.
  • Encouraging community involvement also brought about conflicts in power. While community involvement is important to the success of the Bio-Centre, communication methods could have been improved to minimize misunderstandings and maximize project efficiency.
  • Other challenges lay in road accessibility of the project site, which often made supplying materials to the construction site difficult. This is especially important to note in Langrug since the settlement is in its reblocking stages.
  • The lack of laundry sinks in Bio-Centres is notable because residents used facilities for washing regardless, creating unsightly greywater problems. Up-keeping the appearance of a water and sanitation facility in Langrug is especially important since the facility aims to be a multi-purpose community center.
  • The Centres often incorporated kitchens into the multipurpose spaces. But the odor from the toilet facilities, as well as the lack of provisions for managing fires made these kitchens impractical.