100 public toilets on the cards in Blantyre City


The Blantyre City Council and its partners on Wednesday started brainstorming on the implementation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Blantyre Urban Sanitation Project at a workshop in Zomba.

Under the project, at least 100 public toilets would either be rehabilitated or constructed in Blantyre which would in turn be operated by the private sector under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.


The main objective of the workshop, attended by senior officials from the Council, pay toilet operators, public toilets managers and donors, was to agree on service level agreements for the management of the public toilets in the city.

Under consideration at the workshop were issues to do with the service level of the infrastructure, levels of the operations of the public toilets, the qualifications of the operators, criteria for prioritising rehabilitation of toilets and how the Council could encourage private sector investment in construction, rehabilitation, operation and monitoring among others.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the project together with the British Department for International Development (DfID) to the tune of $2,638,272 (about K1.1 billion) and Blantyre City Council is implementing the project with AYISE and WASTE.


The project, which was launched by Mayor Noel Chalamanda in March this year, would like to significantly reduce open residents access to clean public toilets in markets and bus stations.

It also aims at providing residents with access to pit emptying services that are safe and that offer value for money, reduced illegal dumping of sewage by upgrading and increasing the number of sludge treatment sites.

The Council’s Director of Health and Social Services Emmanuel Kanjunjunju described the Blantyre Urban Sanitation Project as a milestone in addressing sanitation challenges facing the city.

Said Kanjunjunju: “As you are aware, we started the drive to change people’s mindset and behaviour by arresting those that urinate in undesignated places. A lot of people have been complaining about lack of enough public toilets and this project is here to address that shortfall. However, having toilets and utilising them are two different things, so we have to change our attitude.”

He said the Council was committed to the PPP arrangement because it realises that on its own it cannot satisfy the expectations of the residents in terms of quality service delivery.

Kanjunjunju said under the project, the Council and its partners would be setting minimum standards for public toilets to encourage more people to patronise the facilities which is not the case at the moment.

WASTE Country Manager, Joseph DeGabriele, said that the role of the partners of BCC is to support the City to develop the best possible services for all its citizens, including the poor.

“While the city is committed to services, it is not in the best position to provide these services due to human resource and financial constraints, hence the importance of its partnering with the private sector,” said DeGabriele.

He said the Council would soon be calling for expressions of interest from the private sector not only to operate the public toilets but also to invest in the construction of new public toilets.

DeGabriele said the role of the Council would be to ensure standards are adhered to and that citizens comply with public health regulations and discontinue open defecation or urination in public

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