Emptying Latrines, Improving Health

“This business is very important, because we are making the city to be clean.”

Treza Kuyeli is proud of the pit emptying business she runs in the city of Blantyre, Malawi. Her husband used to work with the Blantyre City Council, and he noticed there was a gap in pit latrine emptying services in certain parts of the city. Together, he and Treza built a business to fill that gap and improve the city’s health and cleanliness.

“We observed that fecal sludge, if not well managed, poses a health hazard to our society,” explains Treza. “This is why I have become so passionate about my work, as we are providing an important service to our society.”

Treza started the business in 2010, and at first there were only a few other pit emptiers on the market. Now demand has grown and competition has increased, so Treza is considering adding additional sanitation services like mobile toilets.

Although Treza and her employees have faced some stigma for working in sanitation, they know their business is important. And as a woman working in sanitation, Treza knows she brings a valuable perspective.

“Women by nature are concerned with sanitation issues in their homes,” she shares. “This makes us even better placed for this job…and it ensures high service delivery.”

Treza loves her work and finds value and satisfaction in the relief they bring to families who are happy to have their latrines empty and hygienic. And Treza sees no reason for things to slow down.

“I foresee that our business will expand further,” she says. “Blantyre is growing, which will mean more people using latrines and toilets.”

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