Friday, July 8, 2022

Wednesday, July 6, 2022: The Principal Secretary, State Department for Public Works (SDPW) Mr. Solomon Kitungu toured the Faculty of Built Environment and Design for a demonstration of the ceramic toilet (Ngisi Toilet Project) designed and developed by a research team from the Department of Art and Design. The delegation from the State Department for Public Works was received by the university management team led by the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stephen Kiama, The Dean, Faculty of Built Environment and Design, Prof. Robert Rukwaro, the Chairman of the Department of Art and Design Dr. Samuel Maina and the research team led by Prof. Lilac Osanjo. Also present were the Director, Kenya Building Research Centre, Arch. Oliver Okello and Arch. Charles Kagura and Eng. Isaac Kiva.

The ceramic toilet (Ngisi Toilet) is part of the research study for investigating affordable ceramic fittings to support affordable housing. The research study is a collaboration between  University of Nairobi (UoN) – Department of Art and Design (DAD) and the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works (MoTIHUDPW) – State Department of Public Works (SDPW). The 2 institutions are working in partnership to develop low-cost samples of building materials by investigating reservoirs of soil materials that can be explored for affordable housing projects under an Appropriate Building Materials and Technology (ABMT) framework. The ABMT framework is a key pillar of affordable housing programme reforms to lower the cost of production and improve the accessibility of affordable housing.

The lead researcher Prof. Lilac Osanjo took the team on a tour of the lab where the ceramic toilet was developed and also presented the various steps the team took from fieldwork to source for clay to the final production of the Ndisi Toilet Prototype. Speaking about the study Prof. Lilac said “this study aims to investigate local materials that can be used in the design and production of sustainable low-cost ceramic toilets. This will provide alternatives that would lower the cost of building components such as the use of locally producible ceramic fittings. This would also contribute to the sustainability of the affordable housing program.”  The study will directly address the issue of industrialization and universal health propounded in the Big Four development strategy of Kenya.

PS. Kitungu lauded the research team for coming up with a toilet prototype using locally sourced materials. "The choice of partnering with the University of Nairobi in undertaking the research on locally produced ceramics is a sign of our confidence in this institution, I convey my appreciation to the teams from the University of Nairobi and Kenya Building Research Centre whose effort ensured the success of the project".  He declared that the ministry will continue to support the activities of the team by creating a market link with the Buy Kenya Build Kenya project. He also advised the research team to form a commercialization team to develop a strategy for mass producing the ceramic toilet for the local and international markets.

The Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stephen Kiama committed to supporting the team to push the product to the next level stating “ As a University, we have embraced a culture of Innovation, we value all the innovative ideas of our staff and students; this Ndisi project will directly touch the lives of Kenyans and transform the way we live”

The Associate Vice-Chancellor- Research, Innovation and Enterprise, Prof. Margaret Hutchison congratulated the team for coming up with a project that addresses the need for decent sanitization and assured the research team of support for the commercialization of the ceramic toilet.

The Faculty Dean Prof. Robert Rukwaro gave a brief background of the Faculty of Built Environment and Design stating the enormous contribution the Faculty has made in the design, construction, planning, and construction industry.

The Chairman of the Department Art and Design, Dr. Samuel Maina also in attendance and was accompanied by other heads of Department from Architecture Arch. Musau Kimeu and  Dr. Fridah Mugo from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.