Although shared sanitation facilities have received low priority in the UN Millennium Development Goals, there is a growing recognition that these facilities should be central to sanitation interventions in the developing world. Accompanying this recognition is a realization that new and existing sanitation technologies must necessarily be customized to ensure that the safety and hygiene of such facilities is sufficiently sustained. In line with this recognition, this article highlights how ‘Ikotoilets’, the nationally and internationally acclaimed public toilets in Nairobi, Kenya, are providing reasonably hygienic and safe sanitation, largely due to a rethinking of the local technologies of shared sanitation. Drawing from a qualitative analysis of a ‘convenience’ survey of Ikotoilet users, interview with the provider of Ikotoilets, field observations, and published papers and reports, the article shows that since Ikotoilets are designed to incorporate different uses, blend into the existing urban landscape, and are installed with technologies which, among other things, reduce use of scarce resources, the facilities are contributing to sanitation solutions in the city.

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