2018 Young Entrepreneurs Awards Winner: Mayank Midha

Initiative: GARV Toilets

Countries of impact: India, Bhutan, Ghana and Nigeria

A business using smart technology to give low-income families in rural areas access to clean and well-maintained toilets.

Not being able to access clean and functional toilets in many parts of the developing world is a big problem that affects 2.4 billion people. Poor maintenance, vandalism and improper waste disposal deter people from using toilets that do exist, with open defecation increasing the chances of diarrhoeal diseases, particularly among children.

Real-time usage data makes maintenance smart

This is why Mayank Midha, along with his wife, founded GARV Toilets. The business manufactures indestructible stainless steel toilets, powered by solar panels and equipped with bio-digester tanks so they can be positioned where there is no wastewater infrastructure.

Ingeniously, the toilets can be maintained thanks to automation. By tracking their usage in real-time, knowing when to clean them or fix broken taps becomes much easier. The business can offer hygiene-related data too, such as how many people washed their hands after using the toilets. This information can be used to inform health education campaigns.

5 million urban households in India have no access to toilets

Mayank and his core team of big data experts have already installed 422 toilets across India, Bhutan, Ghana and Nigeria. In this financial year, he expects this number to rise to 900.

In India, his innovation could help the 5 million households living in urban slum areas without access to toilets. There are 300,000 government-aided schools that need them too. In Ghana, 75% of people rely on public toilet infrastructure, which is mostly defunct.

“Nobody has ever tried to maintain toilets in this way, using smart technology which can also be integrated into traditional and existing toilets,” says Mayank.