From the drought of Namibia to the Nordic Slush
The Namibian startup Worldview Technology hopes to make it on the Slush 100 list that are to pitch on the best business solutions in one of the most valued annual startup events of the world. Slush 2017 was held in Helsinki on November 30th and December 1st, to promote the development and commercialisation of a waterless toilet that could be affordable also for the world’s poor.
Mr Kaveto Tjatjara, CEO of Worldview, knows well that he represents an innovation that may be regarded of lesser value, in the hard competition with the most modern digital solutions aimed at the growing urban populations.
Discussing the key themes around Slush17, which included the need to gain and inspire solvers, Mr Tjatjara observed recently, “We think really are solving a global problem: there are 2.3 billion people who do not have access to a toilet in their homes.”
The lack of sanitation is a major health factor around the globe, both in rural and in urban surroundings. Further than that, it is also a question of dignity and personal safety as going out alone to defecate can be dangerous - especially for girls and women. In rural areas, there is also the danger of wild animals like snakes.
Kaveto Tjatjara stresses that their reaching the group of Slush 100 would also help remind everyone of smarter ways of using water. With climate change enhancing, it is ever more important to save potable water for other uses than “transporting the pollution” as Mr Tjatjara describes the functioning of a normal toilet.
“There is a lot of technology for composting toilets. But we have looked for a system that could be applicable for the Namibian, and more broadly, the Sub-Saharan environment and at the same time be affordable,” the startup entrepreneur observed.
Affordable in the measures of Namibian poor would be NAD6,000, the equivalence to the price of a mobile phone. The compost toilets that Mr Tjatjara and his partner have so far discovered are closer to the price of a car. And that is far too much that it could be obtained by those who are most in need of a proper household sanitation.
Worldview Technology entered Slush17 as one of a group of five startups from Namibia and Botswana: PEBL, EcohubBW, Bayon Holdings, and All Bosses being the other representatives selected from a regional competition.
Together with them, FABlab from Windhoek Namibia and Botswana Innovation Hub from Gaborone will go looking for new ideas and partnerships. The trip is a part of the Southern African Innovation Support programme (SAIS), funded by the ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland.
The biggest interest in Slush is set around pitching for the Slush 100 competition. The winner of the Slush 100 pitching competition in 2017 was Altun Technologies, which offers a solution to clean industrial equipment without having to shut down production. They utilise ultrasound emitters to clean the inside of pipes, vats and machinery to combat the effects of fouling. This impressive solution is the only one of its kind in the world, and is set to save its users in maintenance and make up for lost production.
In addition, Slush included founder and investor meetings and site events that have extended in range of fields. Last year, this student-driven non-profit event was organised also in Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore. The same cities will host the event in 2018.
Kaijaleena (Kii) Runsten
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