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A study of the pit emptiers’ market- insights from quantitative surveys and qualitative findings

Pit latrine emptying services in several African cities are typically provided by small-scale, private-sector actors. In Kampala & Blantyre, the focus areas of this study, these services are completely privatized or under a PPP with the government. It is (assumed to be) a low-margin, unglamorous, and informal activity. In the past decade, some pit emptying services have professionalized, expanded the scale of their business, and attained financial viability. Others struggle to attain profitability and do not expand beyond a small customer base. This is a report of the research findings from a mixed-methods, ‘deep dive’ analysis of 35 private pit emptying businesses in Kampala, Uganda, and Blantyre, Malawi to understand the critical ‘levers’ that separate those that have gained operational and financial scale from those that struggle to make a profit or exceed more than 100 clients per year.

Through an analysis of operational and financial metrics, the type and mix of clients served, and the influence of regulation and specific support provided to them, we shall de-bunk some commonly-held assumptions about pit emptying services and, more importantly, provide a context for group discussion on the different roles of public authorities, private sector and development actors in increasing access to safe pit emptying and transport services.


Pit Emptiers' Market Study - October 2022

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