Night Loo is an innovative personal reusable urinal for women and girls that debuted at the 2018 James Dyson Award in the US, which picked our attention. Though the designer had women and girls living in refugee camps during its design, we at innov8tiv saw a further application of its use outside the refugee camps.
While the designers were addressing the severe security challenges, women and girls in refugee camps face during the night, when they are pressed and want to go the urinal. However, they can’t since they would be risking getting raped outside the safety and comfort of their own shelter.
Most refugee camp shelters are not ‘self-contained’ with facilities such as the toilet being a communal facility and located a good distance from the refugee shelters. The problem arises at night when a woman or a girl feels pressed and needs to go to the toilet. The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged that sexual violence is a major problem in refugee camps with women and girls being raped, particularly at night when they find themselves isolated from the rest of the group and thus more vulnerable. This often happens at night, when everybody at the camp is asleep, and a woman or a girl decides to go to out all alone to use the communal toilet.
The same insecurity situation is faced by millions of other girls and women not living in refugee camps but informal settlements and rural areas in most developing countries. Majority of homes in an informal settlement (in urban areas) and rural areas don’t have toilets within the main house. They are usually constructed a reasonable distance from people’s dwellings. At night these women and girls face the same insecurity problems when they want to go relieve themselves.
Night Loo is a safe toilet designed with the women and girls living in refugee camps in mind. It enables the user to relieve themselves in the privacy and security of their own shelter or home at night and keep the waste stored hygienically until the next morning when they can pour it out during the safety of daytime when many people are up and about outside.
“The injection molded silicon loo is designed for squatting over; the petal-like flaps create a splash guard when open and snap closed to cover the contents after use. After urinating and rinsing herself, the user drops in a small pre-portioned packet of super-absorbent polymer (SAP) encased in dissolving PVA films, which turns liquid waste into an odorless powder in less than one minute. In the morning when it is safer to go, she can carry the loo to the latrines, one end pops out into a spout, allowing her to simply pour out the powder. The loo is easily cleaned by unfolding it flat.” – reads a statement by the inventor Anna Meddaugh on the James Dyson Award website where you can also get more detail about this innovation.