Peepoo in the Central Prison of Goma

CRS Solutions has initiated a sanitation project in the Central Prison of Goma.

The prison is overpopulated and the latrine system is not dimensioned to support the number of prisoners held at the institution. In order to improve health and sanitation at the prison, a project with Caritas was started in 2015 to provide the CP with Peepoo.

Today, more than 2.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation.

The lack of sanitation creates tremendous problems worldwide including environmental pollution, great social problems and unsafe surroundings, as well as greatly increasing the outbreak of lethal epidemic diseases such as cholera.

Without toilets, individuals and their environment are at risk from contamination of fresh water and ground water. That’s because human faeces contain infectious and often deadly pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, worms and parasites.

Women, adolescent girls and children are the most vulnerable group suffering from lack of basic sanitation in several ways. One child dies every 15 seconds due to contaminated water from human excreta. Up to 50% of all deaths in emergency, refugee and IDP camp situations are caused by diarrhoeal diseases. More than 80% of these deaths are children under two years of age.

When there is no privacy available for women to urinate or defecate in home or in shelter, they are frequent targets for sexual harassment and rape. Women are at great risk if they have to defecate in the open or use public latrines, especially at night, and their sense of dignity is also taken away. During their menstrual periods, adolescent girls are often forced to be absent from school due to the lack of privacy to take care of their hygiene.”


Peepoo is a personal, single-use, self-sanitising, fully biodegradable toilet that prevents faeces from contaminating the immediate area as well as the surrounding ecosystem. After use, Peepoo turns into valuable fertiliser that can improve livelihoods and increase food security.

Peepoo contains five grams of urea – a non-hazardous chemical that is the most common artificial fertiliser in the world. When the urea in Peepoo comes into contact with faeces or urine, a breakdown into ammonia and carbonate takes place, driven by enzymes that naturally occur in faeces. As the urea is broken down, ammonia starts to inactivate infectious organisms and sanitisation process begins.

Disease causing pathogens, which may be found in faeces, can be rendered inactive within four weeks. When Peepoo disintegrates in the soil, the ammonia is taken up by plants along with nutrients from the human excreta.

Peepoo is a bag that is a single use toilet. But it is not just any old bags. Inside are chemicals that break down the poo and pee into fertilizer. Peepoo bags not only help contain dangerous waste, offering alternative sanitation where there is a lack of infrastructure. The bags also begin to turn the feces into a positive material that can nourish crops. The bioplastic bag has an inner lining covered with urea powder. Together with an enzyme in the bacteria of poop, it produces ammonia gas that raises the PH level until nothing wants to live inside the bag, and the feces degrades. Once collected, the bags are buried in the ground. In optimal conditions, you have produced a fertilizer from the human waste in just six months.


Before introducing peepoo, infectious diseases were rampant in the prison. Now they have decreased significantly, as well as provided fertilizer to be used in the prison garden or to be sold for agroforestry use.

We now plan to expand the project, and are looking for financing to start up production of Peepoo bags adjacent to the prison. Partners in the project are MONUSCO, Red Cross Goma, Section d’Appui à la Justice et Administration Pénitentiaire and Ministère de la Justice et Droits Humains Division de la Justice et Garde de sceaux du Nord-Kivu.