STeP Updates

New Publication Available for Download: User-Centered Design for Sanitation Technologies

Authored by several partners – including STeP, Duke University, and Biomass Controls – this research brief identifies toilet and sanitation technology preferences, amenities, and attributes influential in promoting adoption of improved sanitation technologies among potential user populations. Drawing on a 1,200 household survey and 60 focus groups conducted in low-income, urban communities of Gujarat, India, this work is focused on insights related to Reinvented Toilet (RT) systems. This work discusses potential barriers to toilet adoption and considerations for sanitation system design.

Key Topics:

  • User Centered Design
  • Reinvented Toilet
  • Field Testing, Design and Engineering
  • User Adoption

New Report Available for Download: Transforming Sanitation: Commercializing Partnership Opportunities

The Reinvented Toilet offers a meaningful and accessible business opportunity with tremendous potential to alleviate human suffering. Boston Consulting Group performed a global market assessment in Fall of 2017 to quantify this opportunity across several geographies – including deep dives into the markets for India, China, the US, Europe, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. This report provides a summary of market opportunities for the RT across the globe, including a look at market segments that are ready for the RT now, and recommendations for how to get started with a go-to-market strategy. In-depth assessments for each country are provided in separate reports.

Key Topics:

  • RT market opportunity 
  • Unmet needs and macro trends 
  • Value proposition 
  • Go-to-market recommendations

Gender Evidence Review and Gender Case Studies

STeP or Partner: Partner
Country of focus: Global
Published date: December 2018

Brief description:

Gender matters in sanitation. Emerging evidence shows that gender differences and dynamics along the sanitation value chain can influence people’s access to sanitation as well as their health, development, and empowerment, especially for the most vulnerable. Beyond biological differences between men and women, cultural practices, beliefs, and gendered social norms lead to disparities in men’s and women’s access to sanitation facilities, influence roles and responsibilities in the household, and affect decision-making power. Building on existing momentum and meaningfully applying a gender lens across the sanitation value chain can considerably improve sanitation outcomes. This report provides a review of the current evidence available on gender in sanitation and concludes with key learnings to help advance research and understanding.

Key topics:

  • Poor sanitation and outcome disparities
  • Gender differences along the sanitation value chain
  • Gender and it’s role in sanitation policy
  • Emerging approaches to gender integration in development
  • Conclusions and key learnings

Transformative Sanitation Technology Directory

STeP updated the Transformative Sanitation Technology Directory in October 2018. This new, web-based database of technologies in the Gates Foundation WSH portfolio is organized by systems and components, and displays key product and performance data, starting with data shared at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing in November 2018. Use this tool to explore and understand the portfolio of WSH technology investments to find technologies of interest.

Key Topics:

  • Find technologies of interest
  • Identify technologies for licensing or partnership
  • Evaluate individual sub-systems for integrating with your own technology
  • Evaluate complementary technologies such as menstrual hygiene management systems or use interfaces
  • Identify technologies that may meet the needs in your city, building, or other use case.

Sanitation Technology Funder Landscape report now available for download

STeP or Partner: STeP
Country of focus: Bangladesh, India, South Africa, Global
Published date: October 2018

Brief description:

Resources to validate new sanitation technologies and prepare for market entry – prerequisites for achieving sustainable, scaled solutions – tend to be quite scarce compared to those available to scale proven solutions. As such, a problematic ‘Pioneer Gap’ exists. This funder landscape seeks to both clarify the ‘Pioneer Gap’ and point readers to potential funding and other resources poised to help fill this problematic gap. Two promising forms of funding are explored in detail: catalytic philanthropy and blended finance leveraging impact investment.

Key topics:

  • Financing opportunities
  • Pioneer Gap
  • Enterprise philanthropy
  • Blended finance

Two RT market insights reports now available for the US and China

Market Insights for the RT: China

BCG has completed a market insights study focused on China, particularly highlighting the rapidly changing landscape of the Chinese urban sanitation market. The government has committed to aggressive sanitation targets (e.g. 95% wastewater treatment rate in cities by 2020) which has in turn spurred a strong sanitation market already. The study utilized a combination of expert interviews, secondary research, and synthesis along with consumer insight interviews conducted across Shenyang, Changsha, and Mianyang.

Key Topics:

  • Residential segments
  • Non-residential segments
  • Competitive landscape
  • Regulation and funding
  • Go-to-market considerations.

Market Insights for the RT: US

This study, also completed by BCG, focused on the US, highlighting opportunities for the RT in a “global north” country. Given national trends around green buildings, aging infrastructure, water scarcity, urbanization, and fragmented sanitation policy, there are market opportunities for both the SURT and the MURT across a number of different segments, some which are unique to the “global north”. The study utilized a combination of expert interviews, secondary research, and synthesis.



Key Topics:

  • Use case deep dives: Sewer, septic, green building, non-traditional homes, remote sites, portable toilets
  • Go-to-market considerations.

Coimbatore, India Stakeholder Meeting

STeP hosted a stakeholder meeting in Coimbatore on February 7, 2018 with our local partners for field testing. The partners include academics and four private organizations that provide installation sites and technical and analytical services that enable comprehensive studies on the systems.

The goal was to share accomplishments of the past years and describe planned activities throughout 2018. Presentations by STeP technical staff members described accomplishments of the past years and planned activities. The participants engaged in Q&A and were fully supportive of continued field testing activities.

Stakeholders shared positive feedback during the event, including:

“This [Reinvented Toilet] fits well with Indian government, making Coimbatore one of the “smart, green cities” in India…and once these RT technologies are ready for manufacturing, Coimbatore has also a good industrial capability to fabricate the system” – Mr. V. Jaganathan, PSG General Manager [note: Coimbatore was in the first round of 20 winners selected for the Smart City Mission implemented by India Union Ministry of Urban development]

Images from the stakeholder meeting in Coimbatore held on February 7, 2018.

The newly revamped STeP Resource Center is live!

The Resource Center on the STeP website recently underwent a renovation to make it totally open access and user-friendly. Users can now access and download all reports and resources directly from the site without having to first login.

Reports and resources are now organized around three portfolios of information:

Reinvented Toilet


Including topics such as:

  • What is the global market opportunity for the RT technologies?
  • How do RT technologies compare against existing sanitation solutions?
  • Who are potential buyers and users of RT technologies?

Omni Processor


Including topics such as:

  • What is the global market opportunity for the Omni Processor portfolio? What are the use cases for the Omni Processor technologies?
  • What are the economics of the OP portfolio? How do I build the business case (including output valuation)?
  • What is the value proposition of the OP? How does the OP compare against existing sanitation solutions?

Field Testing and Supporting Activities


Including topics such as:

  • Applying a user-centered design approach to the Reinvented Toilet development process
  • STeP Global Testing Protocols and Parameters
  • Ethics and Safety Guide

If you haven’t already signed up to receive updates when new reports are released, we encourage you to do so here!