Updated Jan 23, 2020

Sustainable Social Enterprise Model for Sanitation that benefits low-to-middle income populations & especially women

A social enterprise model for public toilets piloted in Nepal that incorporates additional revenue streams with waste-to-value technology (biogas), bundled services (shops), gender-inclusive design, & a cleaning compliance program.


Dianna Marini

Stage 4: Transition to Scale

We launched the first AerosanHUB pilot & plan to expand the model in South Asia. We implement toilet upgrades to improve cleanliness, gender & disabled-inclusive facilities, & treat waste by converting it to energy.

Registered .

Focus Areas:

Biomass/BioFuel, Waste Management, Economic Empowerment and 4 MoreSEE ALL

Biomass/BioFuel, Waste Management, Economic Empowerment, Social & Micro Finance, Gender Equity, Climate Change and Resilience and Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)SEE LESS

Implemented In:



Country Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date
Verified Funding


Without proper regulation or management incentives, public toilets in Nepal suffer from inadequate maintenance, unhygienic conditions and disposal of untreated waste into waterways. Women & children are disproportionately affected by a lack of access to sanitary toilets and are most likely to "hold on", resulting in urine & pathogen retention, bladder distension and continence problems. Lack of toilet access also increases diarrheal disease, exacerbating nutritional deficiencies.



We enable existing public toilet operators to enhance their profitability in a way that streamlines with socio-environmental objectives. For example, a biogas plant is constructed that converts toilet waste into energy - benefiting the environment while generating additional revenue. By adopting our model, public toilet operators are motivated to offer services that are gender-inclusive & hygienic. Successful businesses can scale, improving toilet access to the public.

Target Beneficiaries

We help improve the lives of toilet operators (marginalized group) and the general public in urban areas (especially women). Our pilot toilet facility serves about 2000 people a day (730,000/year). Many toilet users are on low to middle incomes such as migrant workers, street vendors, and people that use public transportation. Baseline surveys show only up to 15% of toilet users are women- likely due to their bad condition. We achieved a 46% increase in the proportion of female users.

Mission and Vision

Sanitation in developing countries is undergoing a crisis, which is exacerbated by population increase, urbanization and the threats of climate change. Sanitation is costly, the work involved in not glamorous and infrastructure is an expensive burden to the government. We aim to change the game of the sanitation industry, by setting the stage for profitable and dignifying work in the sanitation industry that can achieve social and environmental sustainability.

Innovation Description

AEROSAN specializes in adapting technological, business, and policy solutions to challenges in the sanitation industry. We work with toilet operators, local NGOs, marginalized groups, and local governments to adopt a social public toilet business model with 1- an improved design for women & children 2-a biogas plant that converts the waste into energy 3- bundle services (sale of sanitary napkins) to increase profit 4- an evidence-based cleaning compliance program.

Competitive Advantage

The success of the Aerosan HUB gained the trust of the local community, received national attention, and resulted in key partnerships. We are thoroughly engaged with local stakeholders: marginalized groups, media, government, and technological organizations. We have a highly qualified and dedicated interdisciplinary team to carry out multi-sectoral collaborations between local and international stakeholders. We also helped set up a female-led sanitation workers' cooperative, representing the local human capacity to carry out our vision. We are also offered a 60% subsidy by the AEPC (government agency) for the construction of future biogas plants. Currently, we are negotiating strategic partnerships with foundations and local governments to scale our initiative to 5 Hubs by 2020 which will reach 3M users, 400,000 unique beneficiaries, and prevent 3M tonnes of waste from being directly dumped into freshwater bodies.

Planned Goals and Milestones

We have successfully implemented one full pilot enterprise that is in operation today (gender-friendly public toilet & biogas plant). In the next two years, we aim to build another 5-10 new AerosanHUBs in the urban areas of Nepal that will serve 400k-800K unique people a year. We plan to train members of the sanitation workers cooperative to run the AerosanHUBs.
Funding Goal1,000,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted400,000
New Implemented CountriesNepal, India
Recruit2 management, 2 engineers, 1 administrator, 1 researcher, 20 volunteers
New Feature1-build 5-10 new public toilets that incorporate our inclusive design standards and biogas 2- Improved Internet technology for monitoring management & user feedback 3-Formalize & train the women-led sanitation workers cooperative 4-cleaning standard policy

The Team Behind the Innovation

David Gallagher, CEO MSc (SOAS) Sustainable Development, BSc Eng. Over 40 years of International Development experience (CUSO, OXFAM, CARE). Dianna Marini, Program Manager MSc (McGill) Integrated Water Management, BSc Cell Biology. Interdisciplinary background in environmental management, health & social sciences and project management. Prakash Amatya, Country Representative Nepal. Has a diverse educational background in Microbiology, Environment, and Business Management.



Apr 2019
Funds RaisedPENDING
TITLETransition to Scale
Infectious & Vector Diseases
Implemented InNepal
Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Jan 2019
In The News
TITLEThe Canadian Deputy ambassador visits the women friendly toilets
May 2017
In The News
TITLEMenstrual Hygiene Awareness campaign
Mar 2017
Funds RaisedVERIFIED
Infectious & Vector Diseases
Implemented InNepal
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In