LOCAL SOLUTIONS TO GLOBAL CHALLENGES
Local Solutions Public Awareness Campaigns
A 2019-2020 Fundraising Campaign from "Local Solutions"
CHANGING TOILETS IN MONGOLIA - TOILETS 2.0
A Campaign to Change Mongolia's Toilets
Led by "Local Solutions," a Mongolian NGO
Mongolia has had to do things differently. We have been making a “toilet revolution” in a very Mongolian way.
In the Western world, outhouses have been replaced by flush toilets. Water, electricity, infrastructure, and money were all available to make this change. Mongolia cannot afford to follow this path because of its high poverty rate and the absence of necessary infrastructure both in the densely populated ger (yurt) districts of the capital city and in the sparsely populated countryside. The long winters, with deeply frozen ground and the need for additional mandatory heating make any sewerage grid unaffordable and impractical for those who need it.
In warmer countries, governments and international charities, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are strategizing, inventing, and installing new and cheaper toilets with myriad different choices. Unfortunately, most such solutions do not work in Mongolia where, for six months of every year, temperatures are well below freezing and where daytime and nighttime temperatures can differ by more than 20º C.
Because of Mongolia’s unique climate and developmental challenges, Mongolians decided to make their own indigenous toilet revolution. Most of Mongolia’s three million people live off-grid, with dirty soil-polluting, deep-pit outhouses. However, Mongolia’s literacy rate is 99%, and almost everyone is connected by cell phone and social media. Mongolians are off-grid, yes, but very connected nonetheless.
Local Solutions, an Ulaanbaatar-based NGO lead by Oyungerel Tsedevdamba, launched the campaign ‘Let’s Change Our Toilets’ in 2017. The campaign involves citizens, micro-businesses, high-tech and bio-tech companies, and experts in development. Over the past two years, the campaign has addressed several long-overdue problems and achieved remarkable results, such as breaking the taboo of even talking about toilets, changing behaviors and overcoming cultural barriers, reducing the cost of the key products, and creating the first-ever toilet-business cluster in Mongolia.
The below Table explains some issues, activities and results of the campaign and their contexts.
Table 1. Short description of activities of the campaign “Let’s Change Our Toilets”.
Issues past and present
No one spoke about toilets. The word ‘jorlon’ (toilet in Mongolian) was a taboo word. Over the years, top-down efforts to upgrade traditional outhouses failed.
-Oyungerel published the book, “Let’s Change Our Toilets” in November, 2017
-Local Solutions conducted nationwide training courses using the book, additional scientific and more. There were 56 workshops in all cities and provincial centers, reaching ~5000 people (Nov 2017-present).
-The project team have used social media to create free content, using the previously taboo word ‘jorlon’ (toilet) every day since November 2017.
-The taboo against ‘jorlon’ was successfully broken.
- The word is now freely used by market players, government offices, mass media and citizens.
-Many ads involving the word are now in circulation.
-The police have officially and openly reported pit toilet-related accidents and deaths since 2019. In the past, such accidents were called “domestic accidents.”
Choosing the appropriate technology for the Mongolian market was difficult due to a lack of infrastructure, the cold climate and the limited purchasing power of potential buyers.
Local Solutions conducted surveys during every workshop. We asked participants to choose toilet technologies among 15 different types of toilets that are mentioned in Oyungerel’s book and two more locally invented toilets. As a result, a broad nationwide picture of the most practical toilet technologies emerged. All over Mongolia, independently of location, education and age, participants opted for a dry toilet. To verify this choice, Local Solutions volunteers also conducted an independent survey among randomly selected households in Ulaanbaatar.
-Out of 17 choices, five dry toilets were identified as most acceptable to the Mongolian market.
-All five models were designed to be outdoor toilets.
-The local market price to build one toilet was $600-$1000.
- All five models were pitched by Local Solutions to commercial banks for issuing soft loans on toilets. As a result, one bank, the Capitron Bank of Mongolia, issued the first ever toilet loan in Mongolia.
- However, by the end of 2018, only one toilet had been sold using the bank’s loan. So it was back to the drawing board!!
Toilets were un-affordable, and making toilets was expensive, time-consuming, and faced cultural barriers. Moreover, selling toilets was difficult and non-scalable due to cultural opposition.
-The Project team, after inviting new volunteers, participated in the creation of a co-operative, “Mini Solutions,” to bring open minded men and women into the toilet business.
- Local Solutions and Mini Solutions, working together as a team and with the help of a local contractor, created a new app for toilet sellers and vendors.
-The team brought a new flagship dry toilet (priced $350) to market. After a three-month-long survey had demonstrated the strong possibility of cultural acceptance, it became the first indoor dry toilet introduced to the Mongolian market.
-A lease-to-buy program was offered to buyers, requiring 20% down-payment, with the remaining payments made over a period of 20 months. No collateral was required and no interest was levied.
-180 dry toilets sold, 150 through the lease-to-buy payment system.
- The repayment rate has been 100%.
- Cultural barriers among new workforce are non-existent. Predominantly young male and female micro-businesses are involved.
- There were fewer than ten consumer-care calls related to the 180 toilets sold.
-Sales of bio-tech products (bacteria, bacteria-enriched biomass, bio-degradable bags) jumped.
-Buyers and sellers of toilets ‘meet’ on Facebook, make their contracts via the app; sellers receive their sales fee automatically via the Capitron Bank’s payment system that is connected to the app.
- Local Solutions doesn’t earn any money from toilet sales. Profits go to marketers and members of Mini Solutions who are participating in toilet business.
Low public awareness of dry-toilet technologies and market choices persists (as of late 2019).
-The Project team continued its public education campaign with public demonstrations of the new dry toilets.
-The team put together packages of seasonally appropriate ancillary products (bacteria, bacteria-enriched biomass, bio-degradable bags) and initial procurements made them affordable for the low-income market.
-Over the summer of 2019, the project team demonstrated its dry toilet to over 40,000 people at eight festivals, events and naadams (midsummer festivals). It also built four show-rooms.
- Summer package products cost $350-$1000.
-Winter package products costs $1000-$3500.
For those who cared about toilets and making them into a business, there was no technical guidance and no eco-system within which to grow.
The team researched and developed new ancillary products as necessary, with cost analysis of each product for introduction to the low-income market, provided mentorship to all vendors on management, pricing, and procurement, and offered standard advice about doing business to all sellers and vendors participating in the toilet business.
-A toilet cluster is being created.
-To date (late 2019) 23 products are being sold via the toilet app.
- Ten active vendors/service providers and ten active salespersons are working in and earning from the business.
- The app is constantly being improved and upgraded.
The campaign, “Let’s Change Our Toilets” has grown bigger than just the toilet issue. The team is now offering not only toilets, but also affordable grey-water treatment systems, house and ger (yurt) insulation, and an insulated outhouse with a toilet in it for those living in gers. With these new products on their online shelves, the team is also working to develop a cheap and improved stove, since free-standing stoves are the only heating systems that low-income people can afford in the present difficult economy. Mongolia’s ger districts (off-grid residential areas) are expanding day by day, year by year, so affordable off-grid solutions for cleaner air will help these districts combat the worst winter air pollution in the world.
Americans have helped Local Solutions’ efforts from the beginning. Local Solutions received funding for its 2017-2018, and 2019 activities from two American non-profits, the New Venture Fund and Enlyst Fund, and from several generous American individuals and families. Hesperian Health Guides, a Berkeley-based 501(c)3 charity helps transfer donations to Local Solutions.
The designated fund-raising link, for donations, is tinyurl.com/y933u776 and Hesperian’s fiscal sponsorship is of enormous help to us as we raise funds outside Mongolia, allowing Americans to make tax-deductible contributions to our efforts.
Photos from Local Solutions: 1. A view of the toilet selling app. 2. Toilet training in Dundgobi province. 3. Toilet, cabin and associated products sold via the toilet cluster.
Local Solutions has also been raising funds domestically. Mongolian companies and citizens financed the demonstration of new toilets at eight festivals and the showroom for winter solutions, helping Local Solutions reach over 40,000 people in person. Some companies donate only modestly but regularly to Local Solutions toilet campaigns. For example, the Circle K Company, in Mongolia, donates 1% of its monthly sales income from a hotdog named “4K”. Each 100 hotdogs sold brings $1.5 dollars to our project.
The team “Let’s Change Our Toilet” strives to help change 600,000 outhouses into modern dry toilets. It is the project team’s ambition to decrease the project’s annual budget each year so that most of the project’s goals can be achieved via market activities that the project aims to help thrive. In 2017-2018, Local Solutions spent $250,000 for the nationwide training and development of existing outdoor dry-toilet models. In 2019, the Local Solutions team operated with $200,000 to achieve abovementioned results. In 2020, Local Solutions plans to finance the following activities within a budget of $151,000 and aims to help toilet and clean-air small businesses thrive all over Mongolia. Our objectives will be reached thanks to:
Scaling Up Through Supporting Small Businesses — budget $34,000. We will provide microbusinesses and salespersons with year-round mentoring services; and technical blueprints of key products will be created and printed professionally and given to any vendor who is eager to participate in the toilet and clean-air business. The key products will include: dry-toilet installation, grey-water treatment system, two-chamber stove, ger insulation, house insulation from inside and outside, and outhouses (several types and materials).
Increase affordability of the key change-making products — budget $55,000. Mongolians, who do not live in Western-style homes, use their stoves to heat their gers and cook their meals. Given their constant budget constraints, ger-district dwellers burn the cheapest fuel or raw coal in their stoves. The project team is working, through research and development, to improve these stoves. With redesign and lowering the price of stoves, the poisonous air pollution in Ulaanbaatar should decrease and lives will be saved. In October 2019 alone, as the cold season began,10 people died and more than 150 people were hospitalized from poisonous gases created by the old-style bad/cheap stoves when the families tried to improve their heating by using the newly released, government-mandated “improved fuel”. Even though newly designed, better stoves are available on the market this year (much better choices than in previous years), they are still not affordable for most families living in the ger district where the average monthly family income is only $325. Some of the budget of $55,000 will also go to continuous development of the Sales/Vendors’ app, data development to ease the loan process, and loan monitoring. Also, 20% of this budget will be used to create a Risk fund and Vendors’ loan fund.
Continued Awareness Campaign — budget $62,000. Local Solutions plans to prepare user guides for their key products (toilet, stove, get insulation, and grey-water management); vendors’ and traders’ guidelines; and a handbook about management of public toilets. A portion of the budget will cover administrative costs and help, in a small way, to retain Local Solutions’s staff committed to the project.
For further questions and to offer help, please contact Oyungerel Tsedevdamba, Project Leader, at her email firstname.lastname@example.org . Local Solutions staff can be contacted at email@example.com . The website for the entire project is www.jorlon.org (in English and in Mongolian).
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Make an online donation via Hesperian Health Guides, a 501(c)3 charity, at tinyurl.com/y933u776
Or you can send a check, payable to Hesperian Health Guides (noting that the money is a donation to Local Solutions) to:
Hesperian Health Guides
1919 Addison St #304
Berkeley, CA 94704
Sponsor the full 2020 project “Let’s Change Our Toilet - 2020” with a donation of $151,000 or sponsor part of the project as follows:
scaling up through supporting small businesses -- budget $34,000
increasing the affordability of key products -- budget $55,000
continuing the public awareness campaign -- budget $62,000
ON BREAKING THE TOILET TABOO
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVDH5AHr620 ( in English, less than a minute)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1AG4aDRq5E (a speech in English, 21 minutes)
SHORT CLIPS ON USING DRY TOILETS
CLIPS FROM THE TRAINING “LET’S CHANGE OUR TOILETS”
https://www.facebook.com/oyunlt/videos/1461839363922580/ (in Mongolian)
CLIPS FROM THE TRAINING “LET’S REMOVE SMOG”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZpcR_iLuow (in English)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xiNgTpax6U (in Mongolian)
This is the second open letter on our Toilet Change mission.
It is our pleasure to inform you that “I want to change my toilet” has become a very common expression in Mongolia thanks to our training series “Let’s Change Our Toilets". This year, Local Solutions received additional funding from our American sponsor organization for our new series of trainings “Let’s Change Our Toilets-2019”. We also received a $5,000 donation from an anonymous donor for our campaign “Let’s Change 6000 toilets in Mongolia” that we announced on this website.
In early 2019, our Let’s Change Our Toilets team, that includes Local Solutions, Independent Experts and Local volunteers, brought on board several Mongolian business partners. On our team now are not only Local Solutions and its volunteers, but also a new cooperative, Mini Solutions, which engages citizens who want to change their old polluting toilets and help advocate for and sell new-model toilets, as well as companies that are now directly involved in changing toilets. They are: 1) TJNR, producing a bio toilet cleanser, compost and a wholesale trader of bio toilets and collecting toilet waste. 2) Energun Construction, offering small scale waste water treatment system at affordable prices; 3) Ulaanbaatar Asset Management, which recently issued the first green bond specifically for toilet changing business activities of TJNR; 4) UNIT, a high tech company offering an app for toilet sellers from Mini Solutions.
Local Solutions continues to educate and inform the Mongolian public on the importance of changing their dangerous, groundwater polluting pit toilets into environmentally friendly and safe toilets. In doing so, we aim to support the first ever toilet business cluster that is being formed thanks to our “Let’s Change Our Toilet” campaign. We named the business-involving stage of our new campaign "Toilet 2.0".
Our training series now offers general knowledge and rationales for changing toilets, as well as showing and explaining particular products, new behaviors and cultures related to those products, and then offering payment solutions and business networks. Due to our business partners’ choices on products, Local Solutions edu-marketing activities cover such products as Biolan toilets, composters, bio degradable bags, biomass products, grey water systems, bio cleaning bacteria-based products, and bio waste collecting service and composts. Of course, Local Solutions, as a not-for-profit NGO, receives no money from all these new business activities which it helped develop.
Dear Friends, last year, before Local Solutions partnered with Mongolian businesses, we calculated that it would take $630 to enable one family to install a toilet without a waste water treatment system. That was when all the technologies chosen by our training participants were outdoor dry toilets. This year, we calculate that just $300 will be needed for a family to change their toilet into a dry bio toilet that can be installed indoors. And a family could also invest $1000 for both toilet and waste water treatment system. However, because of low family income and poverty, an estimated 90% of Ger District residents of Ulaanbaatar will need a soft loan to finance their new toilets.
Local Solutions is eager to help Ger District families by offering a risk fund for toilet loans that is being provided via TJNR and Mini Solutions. So far, we created a modest risk fund from the first donation of $5000 that we received from the anonymous donor who responded to our previous year’s fund-raising campaign. This enabled us to launch the first ever interest-free toilet loan to the most needed segment of the population—the Ger District residents.
We aim to raise money for a $50,000 risk fund for two-year loans.
We ask for your support in our Toilet 2.0 campaign and we hope to be able to help many Mongolian families from the Ger District thanks to your support.
Thank you very much!
Chair of Board, Local Solutions
Phone: 976-99115109, and 976-70070071
Twitter: @nutgiinshiidel, @oyunlt
Facebook group: ЖОРЛОНГОО ӨӨРЧИЛЬЕ
Facebook page: Mini Solutions-Мини Шийдэл
You can see our last year's Letter below:
REDUCING AIR POLLUTION THROUGH EMPOWERING LOCAL RESIDENTS
A New Strategy for Attacking Air Pollution in Mongolia -
a single unified curriculum for rapid and widespread education
about best practices in ger districts and beyond
“Local Solutions” (LS) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Ulaanbaatar. It is well known, nationwide, for its recent public-education and training campaign “Let’s Change Our Toilets.”
LS has now developed a new training program designed, initially, to tackle pollution in Ulaanbaatar by educating residents of the ger district. The goal of the program, a unified rather than scattershot effort, is to teach residents about ways that they, themselves, can improve the air they breathe.
LS will offer a full-day free course for classes of 50 at a time. It will also mentor smaller groups and, sharing the tools and materials used for this course, LS will teach these groups how to lead classes themselves. Two months before the start of the project, almost 40 volunteers had already signed up for mentored training.
The course materials will include lectures, exercises, tests and games, all of which will be designed to empower local residents to take informed action and change their behavior to reduce air pollution in their neighborhoods. The immediate outcomes should be changes in the choice of fuel, enhanced efforts to improve the insulation of gers and cabins, and attachment of smoke-filtering devices to fuel-burning stoves. The course will provide information about “green-product" vendors and about providers of loans for “green projects.” Class members will be encouraged to develop plans of action that will result in cleaner air inside their homes and less toxic emissions from their homes.
The goal of LS is to reach 2,250 ger district residents directly and then 20,000 ger dwellers, all over Mongolia, via LS-mentored and trained volunteers. The cost of a training package for 450 residents of the ger district is approximately $19,000, which includes the development of multimedia public-awareness materials for distribution throughout Mongolia. ( Disbursement of $19,000: staff, $5650; printed
brochures, $610; Training direct expenses including meal and venue, $6740; Multimedia and publicity, $6000)
Local Solutions thanks Hesperian Health Guides for being the fiscal sponsor for our public awareness training series for cleaner air and better sanitation. Donate to Hesperian to help us: http://tinyurl.com/y933u776
Air pollution in winter in Mongolia is the worst in the world. From October to March, Ulaanbaatar is not only the coldest capital city in the world, it also has the most toxic air. With temperatures falling as low as -45º C/-49º F at night, more than a million off-grid residents of Ulaanbaatar’s ger (yurt) district keep warm by burning the cheapest and, thus, the dirtiest coal available. The resultant pollution not only contributes to global warming but also fills the hospitals of the capital city with sick children and their mothers. Children die of pneumonia in the corridors of these hospitals for lack of proper accommodation; mothers miscarry.
Morning pollution in Ulaanbaatar (1/07/19; courtesy of Multimedia Project #OurFewMongolians)
MANY OF MONGOLIA'S TOILETS ARE OUTDATED AND DANGEROUS, CAUSING ILLNESS, ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, AND UNHEALTHY LIVING CONDITIONS.
The “Local Solutions” team and participants in a “Let’s Change Our Toilets” training session in Dundgobi Province, Mongolia. (Photo by Batsukh Sereeter)
YOUR DONATION WILL HELP US TO HELP MONGOLIANS TO CHANGE THEIR TOILETS.
It is a pleasure for us to introduce “Local Solutions” to people, organizations and communities who care about public health, water, sanitation, sustainable development, the environment and Mongolia itself.
We are an accredited Mongolian non-governmental organization (NGO) and our mission is to discover, encourage and disseminate locally acceptable and sustainable solutions to the global challenges that are also Mongolia’s challenges. Our NGO was established in 2007 and, over the years, we have worked to help bring disabled Mongolians into full civic engagement; we have been engaged in literacy training of marginalized Mongolians; we have disseminated information about environmental health, jobs and occupations; and we have trained students via community-engagement projects.
These days, however, Mongolians know us best for our nationwide public-awareness campaign to change Mongolia’s toilets.
All our projects have been made possible by the generosity of many individuals, organizations and businesses. To name but a few, we have benefited from the contributions of Amistad International, the Hesperian Foundation, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Beijing, the Misereor Foundation, the Global Growth Fund, the World Bank, the New Venture Fund, the Capitron Bank of Mongolia and Energun Construction Co. Ltd., Mrs.Helen Bing and Mr.Peter Bing, Mr. Jonathan Woetzel, and Dr. Ann Altman.
“Let’s Change Our Toilets” is the title of a book that Local Solutions published in 2017, and it is also the name of our signature workshops, at which 60-160 local community members can learn about the various health problems caused by polluting outhouses and about the many technologies that provide methods for improving toilets, septic tanks and local sewerage facilities, as well as about the financial, urban-planning, and sustainability aspects of improvements in sanitation at the local community level.
We have spent seven months providing free community training in all 21 aimags (provinces) of Mongolia and in nine districts (boroughs) of the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, informing and training more than 3000 local activists. Since June 2018, our paid workshops have been offered to communities and teams at relatively low cost. We have had many requests for future training sessions and for financing options for improving toilets, with an especially large and growing demand from individuals and families who have decided to change their toilets. The growth in demand exceeds our financial capacity at present.
However, our goal is to help all Mongolians who are determined to change their toilets during the surge of enthusiasm that has followed our nationwide public-awareness training. We have already received enthusiastic offers of help from individual tourists, community leaders and groups, with donations both to the cause and to “Local Solutions” itself.
In June 2018, upon signing a Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation with the Capitron Bank, we launched the present Fundraising Campaign. Our aim is to raise money to help change 1% or 6,000 of nearly 600,000 existing inadequate toilet facilities by 2020. We will lend money, at low interest, to those who want to replace or improve their toilets. Then the repaid loans will be the source of funds for changes in some of the remaining 99% of toilets in the years ahead.
We are asking you to help Mongolians change their toilets now while the level of enthusiasm is so high!
Your donation will be placed in a specially designated account of “Local Solutions” at the Capitron Bank of Mongolia. Fully 70% of all donations will be part of the principal for Capitron Bank’s loan program via “Eco Toilet Loans”. The remaining 30% of each donation will support the continuation of “Local Solutions'” public-awareness “Let’s Change Our Toilets” training, and it will also support the NGO’s planned technological and management consultancies on toilet change, toilet maintenance, innovation and adaptation of sanitation technologies, sanitation-related scholarship programs, and multimedia products and programs about good examples of changes in toilet facilities. In addition, it will help to meet the annual administrative cost of six staff members at "Local Solutions," each of whom will receive $600 per month, at most, for their full-time commitment to the project.
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
Toilet is not a dirty word: https://medium.com/@UNHumanRights/toilet-is-not-a-dirty-word-e6152f1b2a85
From Taboo to Business: A toilet changing campaign in Mongolia: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/newsevents/newsroom/lecture-from-former-government-minister-of-mongolia-oyungerel-tsedevdamba#.XZqYa1UzbIU
Toilet Business Cluster is just being formed in Mongolia - UDDTs for public events in Mongolia: https://forum.susana.org/161-sanitation-as-a-business-and-business-models/23332-toilet-business-cluster-is-just-being-formed-in-mongolia