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PRESS RELEASE – OFFICIAL OPENING FIRST SAFI SANA FACTORY IN GHANA ON MARCH 15

WEESP – February 28, 2017

Dutch-Ghanaian social venture Safi Sana opens first POO POWER FACTORY in Accra- Ashaiman on March 15th, 2017.

Ghana’s first ever Poo Power plant will be festively opened this March 15th by Safi Sana. Relatively new on the market, this company is the first in the world to launch a complete circular industry, converting human waste (urine and excrement) combined with refuse from organic food markets and abattoirs into electric power, clean water for irrigation and compost. The water and compost are subsequently applied for the cultivation of vegetable seedlings and fresh herbs in Safi Sana’s own greenhouses. All the factory’s proceeds are marketed locally.

‘The re-use of organic waste, in itself, is nothing new’, says Safi Sana’s CEO mr Aart van den Beukel. ‘What is new, however, is the circular business model that we have constructed by taking on the entire chain (human waste – electric power – compost – organic produce) and by operating on a much larger scale. Sanitation alone is not a viable business model. We are the first to prove that this operation can be profitable, which is of vital importance for the development of sustainable waste and sanitation solutions.’

Waste issues

Waste is a major problem in Ghana, particularly in the urban slums. Safi Sana’s first plant is located in Ashaiman, an area housing more than 250.000 people on the east-side of Accra. Here, dwellings consist mainly of self-made shacks that almost never include a private toilet. To answer the call of nature one must leave the house, to be faced with one of three choices: to use one of very few and far between public toilets; to make use of a plastic bag or to relieve oneself in a more or less secluded corner somewhere. Either of the last two options leave both human and plastic waste exposed to the elements, while coincidentally posing safety hazards, especially for women. From the public toilets, waste is collected and transferred by lorries to a disposal site ironically named Lavender Hill. Left there untreated, the material seeps away and contaminates the sea.

Local impact

Safi Sana has joined forces with the proprietors of the public toilets and slaughterhouses and with the food market’s Market Queens, pledging to collect and process waste and thereby to contribute to better local living conditions. Acting from a commitment to health and safety, Safi Sana strives to raise local awareness on segregate waste collection and sanitation and hygiene best practices through their extensive Hygiene and Sanitation training program. CEO Van den Beukel: ‘To achieve better conditions of sanitation, hygiene and waste management in an area like Ashaiman, education and information are key. They are absolutely vital to any real change in attitude and behavior towards this subject and to commitment from the local population.’

The plant’s output is directly beneficial to the locals: compost and seedlings help local farmers, improving the arid soil and increasing their yields. The plant brings jobs to the community and provides electricity for the grid.

Unique in the world

Once up and running, the Safi Sana plant will be self-supporting through the proceeds of her products (i.e. electrical power, compost, irrigation water, seedlings and herbs). Instead of being just another over-subsidized money-gobbler, Safi Sana boasts an unparalleled circular business model that is unique in the world. Safi Sana creates real opportunities for sustainable sanitation and waste issues in poorer countries. Van den Beukel: ‘Since the realization of our first plant we find that the world is watching; governments and multinationals alike. Our approach has met with great approval and interest. As a result, we are now engaged in talks with different partners about combined projects, processing waste for both governments and businesses. Not only in Africa but also in Asia.’

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NOTE TO EDITORIAL STAF- NOT FOR PUBLICATION

Safi Sana is a social venture that creates sustainable opportunities in developing countries by initiating business-driven, reproducible programs combining sanitation, waste treatment, agriculture and energy. Safi Sana’s business model consists of the conversion of fecal and organic waste into compost, irrigation water and electrical power produced from biogas. The self-sustaining design offers long term compound impact and significantly reduces life-time cost compared to traditional solutions. We assist local governments in meeting a number of crucial challenges in urban slums: augmenting issues with waste and sanitation, increasing food insecurity, local job opportunities and a growing demand for renewable energy. Safi Sana is based in the Netherlands and Ghana.

 

For more information or to make an appointment, please contact

Raymond Okrofu

Country Manager Safi Sana- Ghana

raymond.okrofu@safisana.org

mobile +233 244 852 397