Grand Challenges Canada

As of the end of September 2022, more than 150,000 lives have been improved and more than 15,000 metric tonnes/year of sanitation waste safely removed

Nairobi/Toronto, November 7, 2022Fresh Life, a Kenya-based, social enterprise that works to make safely managed sanitation in low-income urban communities accessible and affordable, is this year’s winner of Grand Challenges Canada’s third annual Rotman Innovation of the Year Award, worth $10,000 Canadian dollars.

The accolade is presented annually by Grand Challenges Canada, a Canadian not-for-profit organization that invests in local innovations that address critical global health, humanitarian and Indigenous community challenges in Canada and low-resource countries.

“Improving access to toilets that enable safe removal and treatment of waste is a critical means to improve health outcomes. According to UNICEF, better sanitation and hygiene could prevent the deaths of 297,000 children under the age of five each year globally,” said Grand Challenges Canada’s Co-CEO Jocelyn Mackie. “We’re proud to have provided $1 million CAD in transition-to-scale financing to Fresh Life, made possible with funding from Global Affairs Canada, to expand their operations from a standalone enterprise to wider integration with government-led city sanitation plans. Supporting their scaling and sustainability will help amplify their health impact.”

The Rotman Innovation of the Year Award was created in honour of the late Joseph Rotman. Mr. Rotman was founding Chair of Grand Challenges Canada, and his family has generously supported this award in recognition of Mr. Rotman’s unfailing support for global health innovation. The Award honours an innovation that has had the largest sustainable increase in lives saved or lives improved over the past year.

Janis Rotman, President of The Rotman Family Foundation, explained: “My father’s firm belief was that business has a vital role to play in building a better society. Fresh Life’s model symbolizes Joseph Rotman’s vision for innovation for impact. Using a unique market-based approach to stimulate demand for improved sanitation has contributed to a significant volume of waste being removed from communities that would otherwise have been dumped untreated into nearby rivers and waterways. The Rotman Family warmly congratulates Fresh Life on being named the third annual winner of the Award.”

Lindsay Stradley, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Fresh Life, added: “We are grateful to be recognized among many innovators all of whom have one goal: to tackle the most pressing health, economic and environmental challenges of our time. This win is a proud moment for our team and a gamechanger in catalyzing our growth and impact in fast growing cities. It inspires more action towards scaling sanitation solutions and sets the stage for other like-minded partners to join us in accelerating the Sustainable Development Goal on delivering safely managed sanitation for all.”

As of the end of September 2022 Fresh Life’s network of container-based toilets stands at more than 4,800 across Nairobi and Kisumu. Fresh Life is also launching its services in a third city—Eldoret, in partnership with the municipality and the Eldoret Water and Sanitation Company (ELDOWAS).

Fresh Life’s model is particularly unique within GCC’s sanitation portfolio, as it is the first to scale through a franchise model. Fresh Life provides access to safely managed sanitation services through a network of franchisees that operate Fresh Life’s container-based toilets: Fresh Life Toilets (FLTs) and Fresh Fit in-home Toilets (FFTs). These toilets are manufactured locally and come with a handwashing station and a sanitary bin as part of the standard offering. The FLT is a shared facility that is operated as a small business or as a value-add to customers such as in the case of a landlord for tenants or a school for students. The FFT is a small facility designed to easily fit inside one room households for people living with disabilities, the elderly, or expectant mothers who face difficulty using and accessing shared toilets.

To maintain their status as a franchisee, Fresh Life Operators (FLOs) must adhere to hygiene and cleanliness standards set out in the agreement with Fresh Life and meet the monthly subsidized service fee payment of 850KES (approximately $9.50 CAD) for the FLT and 250KES (approximately $2.50 CAD) for the FFT. This monthly payment entitles the FLO to real-time customer support via a customer support mobile application, toilet maintenance and regular waste collection services.

Grand Challenges Canada seeking ideas that address the human health impacts of climate change

Grand Challenges Canada’s Stars in Global Health program is seeking bold ideas that address the human health impacts of climate change in low- and middle-income countries. These innovative solutions are expected to address adaptation gaps and build resilience against the effects of climate change on the human health and wellbeing of underserved communities.

Seed grants (to establish proof of concept) of up to CAD $150,000 are available for innovations that seek to demonstrate evidence of real-world impact through addressing climate-sensitive health risks over a 12- to 18-month period. Funds requested should be commensurate with the activities outlined in the proposal. New registrations will be accepted until December 15, 2022. Applications will be accepted until December 22, 2022.



About Grand Challenges Canada

Grand Challenges Canada is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact®. Funded by the Government of Canada and other partners, Grand Challenges Canada funds innovators in low- and middle-income countries and Canada. The bold ideas Grand Challenges Canada supports integrate science and technology, social and business innovation—known as Integrated Innovation®.

One of the largest impact-first investors in Canada, Grand Challenges Canada has supported a pipeline of over 1,400 innovations in 96 countries. Grand Challenges Canada estimates that these innovations have the potential to save up to 1.78 million lives and improve up to 64 million lives by 2030.

For more information:
Reuben Kyama (Nairobi)
Mobile: +254 722 739765

About Fresh Life

Fresh Life, a founding partner of The Sanergy Collaborative works with municipalities, utilities and residents to deliver safe, equitable and sustainable sanitation, particularly in underserved, low-income areas. We use a full value chain approach to deliver our services, which includes:

  • Building cost-effective and eco-friendly sanitation products and services distributed in non-sewered low-income urban areas.
  • Collecting and safely removing sanitation waste generated by our customers via a professional logistics team, consisting of youth from the communities.
  • Partnering with cities, utilities and other organizations to guarantee safe treatment and reuse of waste removed.

Fresh Life serves more than 150,000 urban residents every single day and aims to scale reach throughout Africa.

For more information:
Sheila Kibuthu (Nairobi)