1 min read
01 Jan 2024
We develop and operate sanitation infrastructure at about 20 percent of the traditional cost by converting fecal matter into biomass fuels. These fuels lower the cost of waste treatment and replace traditional firewood, thereby curbing deforestation.

The facts are undeniable: across East Africa, as urban areas grow, fecal matter is seeping into water supplies and causing significant damage to public health. Poor sanitation is one of the leading causes of death for children under five in the region, and unsanitary sewage systems also pollute the environment and reduce tourism. This was the challenge that entrepreneurs Andrew Foote and Emily Woods set out to tackle. Equipped with years of experience in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, the US-born entrepreneurs developed a unique, circular solution and shopped it to government and private sector partners: converting human waste into renewable energy. “A lot of it is taking this wild, crazy idea of using waste to make fuel and selling it and implementing it, making topics that people don’t talk about sexy,” Andrew says. 

— Photo by Sanivation

Kenya was the perfect place to pioneer the model. While the country’s GDP per capita is relatively high for the region, the number of people lacking access to clean water and sanitation is high, too. Andrew says that the business environment was favorable to a market solution and more and more companies are working on the same issue. “We’re at a time in the market where a rising tide lifts all boats,” he says. “The more the government recognizes the sanitation problem is solvable, the more people will have access and the larger dent we’ll have on the problem.” 

— Photo by Sanivation

Funding Story

Sanivation has raised $4.5 million since launching in 2015 through a combination of contracts, grant funding and venture capital funding. This includes funding from the Chivas Regal Venture competition, which is focused on impact investing.


  • Securing four partnerships with county governments in Kenya. 
  • Selling more than 1,700 tons of converted fuel. 
  • Being recognized by Fast Company as one of the ten most innovative companies in Africa. 
  • Winning an innovation award from the Kenyan government for our work in Naivasha, a suburb of Nairobi.