It is my pleasure to update you on the project “Let’s change our toilets”. Many of you generously helped and collaborated with our project in 2021 despite all the hurdles caused by COVID-19.
Economically, 2021 couldn’t be worse in Mongolia. Imports have fallen, bank loans are scarce, domestic and international donations are at all times lows, and the price of goods has skyrocketed.
The project adjusted to the change. We cut our budget from our usual $6,000 per month to $3,800.
However, our dedication to change 6000 toilets or 1% of the national total need, remained strong. We managed to change 250 more toilets this year, which totals to 650 toilets since our first attempt to change pit toilets in Mongolia in 2017. This number might sound too modest for you, but in fact, it is quite a big number for us, compared to 1 toilet change in all of 2018—our most active year of nationwide training and awareness building. It is becoming more and more evident that a family makes decisions on toilets very carefully and only well-tested models sell. As our toilet model is successfully tested for the third year in a row now, we are looking forward to more progress in the nearest future.
As you might already be aware, our project offers essential IT infrastructure and the costs for small enterprises groundwork of consumer building, marketing, skills training, and product development. We train vendors, we develop affordable products, and we offer interest-free leases to. And we constantly provide public educational contents to trigger wider change.
Despite our financial difficulties, the project ‘Let’s change our toilets’ undertook the following activities in 2021:
Provided public educational training, Edu-marketing continuously for the general public, and technical mentorship for the small enterprises-- vendors. In addition to our online contents and daily posts for public education, hundreds of residents of Ger Area of three biggest districts of Ulaanbaatar received our in-class training, public and private sector teams of eight sums of five different provinces received our online training, 30 self-employed and small enterprise workers received our year-round mentorship in skills improvement, five small company management team worked with us as our mentees.
Adapted, tested, and built a new model of public dry toilet ‘Populett’ in Tunkhel village of Selenge province.
Made a phone version of the “task.mn” application available for freelancers, small and micro-enterprises. With the help of this system, small vendors, including those involved in toilet changing activities, were able to find job orders, make contracts, receive their payments, and have all the legal papers documented for them.
Improved the design and blueprint of a ‘semi-passive house’ – an energy-saving, affordable, house that contains a dry toilet and a reed bed system within it. We didn’t offer the house blueprints to the vendors this year because of the unpredictability of the construction material prices and logistical hurdles of this particular year. We are aiming that the project-designed housing should be truly affordable and well-performing.
Collaborated with inventors to design waste-management and public toilet running business models for such areas as public highway roads, tourism camps, and protected areas. Prepared initial contents for greater change in this area.
Our vision for 2022 is quite clear.
We aim to at least double the toilet changing for families.
We aim to launch a new public education content series on bio-sphere, biodegradation of organic waste, and the most affordable ways to circulate organic waste in Mongolia. As Mongolia’s soil temperature falls below zero during eight months of a year, it is quite tricky or expensive to use the technologies used in warmer countries. Therefore, we will be discussing, practicing, and spreading the technologies that work in Mongolia at a low cost.
We also aim to introduce affordable and sustainable waste management and dry toilet solutions for public areas. And we will train more small and micro enterprises for toilet changing, energy-efficient house-building skills so that the change-making brings more jobs to low-income areas.
We envision that our project will be fully and successfully handed over to the business sector in three to four years when we reach the 1% threshold of the market, or when we sell 6000 toilets. Until then, the snowball of change is still too small and our project continues to raise funds in order to support its efforts.
We will benefit greatly if you could continue providing your essential donations to our cause to Hesperian Health Guides, our U.S. 501 ( c) 3 tax-deductible fiscal sponsor.
As to the project team, Local Solutions and Mini Solutions Cooperative are closely collaborating on the project. Local Solutions, as a non-profit entity, provides public education, develops products and helps build IT infrastructure, and trains and mentors the vendors. Mini Solutions Cooperative is a social enterprise. Mini Solutions procures and sells dry toilets, bio-degradable bags, and other toilet-related items. It offers interest-free and collateral-free lease-to-buy for the dry toilet. It contracts with the buyers and vendors. It receives essential feedbacks from users of the toilets and it also undertakes consumer relations.
Without Mini Solutions feedback, customer care, and business activities, Local Solutions won’t be able to develop affordable and essential solutions for the low-income ger area residents. And without Local Solutions marketing, infrastructure, and consultancy support, Mini Solutions won’t be able to operate at this stage. Together, they are preparing consumers who are buying (toilet is never given for free in this project) dry toilets and making essential changes in people’s lives.
A common countryside toilet
A new toilet at a herder's ger in countryside made by a trained local vendor
A common ger area toilet - dangerous, stinky, unhealthy, and cold during winter-time
A common picture of what people usually see when going to a pit toilet. Children die falling into deep pits. In 2021, eight children from age from 1.5 to 12 fell into toilets
A low-income family gets its toilet installed at the entrance cabin that is safe, warm and accessible for sick and elderly. A trained vendor has made the cabin and installed the toilet. Also, a trained Cooperative salesperson provided them a 20-month lease-to-buy so that the family could afford the $310 toilet, and $530 insulated entrance cabin.
This is what people see and experience after they change their toilets.
But where exactly the donors’ grant dollars go? When we raise funds for our project, donations are sent to Local Solutions, a non-profit entity where we employ key trainers, educators and product developers.But Mini Solutions is financed by bank loans and buyers’ payments. So far, Mini Solutions is operating with no bad debts.
For the continued change-making in Mongolia, I would like to ask you again to support our project via Hesperian Health Guides. To donate, please click here: https://tinyurl.com/45rrjzw6
If you are able to donate directly to “Local Solutions”, please send your contribution to the dedicated bank account, as follows:
Beneficiary’s name: Local Solutions
Beneficiary’s account number (USD): 3055 030999
Beneficiary’s bank: Capitron Bank
Intermediary Bank1: RAIFFEISEN BANK INTERNATIONAL AG, Austria
Intermediary Bank2: KOOKMIN BANK, Seoul
“Local Solutions” will provide updates directly to you via email, if you wish, or you can follow our Facebook group ЖОРЛОНГОО ӨӨРЧИЛЬЕ (LET’S CHANGE OUR TOILETS - in Mongolian only).
Thank you very much!
Chair of Board, Local Solutions
Phone: +976-99115109, and +976-70070071
Twitter: @nutgiinshiidel, @oyunlt
Facebook group: ЖОРЛОНГОО ӨӨРЧИЛЬЕ
©2018 Local Solutions