Design Competition to Optimize a VIP Latrine for Schools in Africa

BlogAbout SimScaleDesign Competition to Optimize a VIP Latrine for Schools in Africa

“663 million people in the world live without clean water and access to basic sanitary facilities. The majority are based in isolated rural areas and spend hours every day walking to collect water for their families,” says Neven Subotic. “This not only prevents children from going to school or parents from earning a living, but also allows for the spread of potentially deadly diseases via water.”

These diseases develop and spread due to inadequate sanitation and hygiene, particularly through toilets. For reasons of groundwater protection and low water availability, the flushing and disposal of waste must be carried out without the use of water in many regions. Therefore, a VIP latrine (ventilated improved pit latrine) is used in rural or peri-urban areas in many developing countries. Such a latrine is a type of outhouse that uses the chimney effect to make insects and rotting gases “harmless”.

Aiming to create an optimized design of the latrines that can become standard in schools in Ethiopia and other African countries, Neven Subotic Stiftung—founded and led by international footballer Neven Subotic—partnered with SimScale to announce a competition for design engineers and mechanical engineers worldwide. 

Neven Subotic on site at a water well drilling project in Ethiopia
Neven Subotic on site at a water well drilling project in Ethiopia

Neven Subotic Stiftung (Foundation) provides access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities to schools and communities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The so-called “WASH” projects (water, sanitation, hygiene) help people in terms of health and the prevention of diseases, but also in terms of education. Access to clean water and sanitation enables children to go to school instead of spending hours and energy for fetching water. 

Competition for Optimizing  a VIP Latrine Design

Participants are invited to join the challenge and submit improvements to the design of a VIP latrine. The goal is to develop a latrine that safely discards waste with adequate ventilation to prevent the spread of diseases.

We are providing a 3D CAD model of the latrine that is easy to edit and modify. Subsequently, the efficiency (air exchange rate) of the latrine needs to be calculated with the help of fluid flow simulation (CFD).

two design versions of a VIP latrine
Two design versions of a VIP latrine (comparison of pit depths)

For the design optimization and simulation, the SimScale cloud-based platform can be used for free by creating a Community account. Being a cloud-based tool, no special hardware, licence or installation is needed.

The winner of this competition will receive a $200 Amazon voucher, and the second place will receive a $100 Amazon voucher. Plus the joy of making a difference in the world.

Neven Subotic visiting a school in Ethiopia
Neven Subotic visiting a school in Ethiopia

Find more information as well as the tutorials for joining the challenge here:

  1. Tutorial: How to Modify the Geometry
  2. Tutorial: How to Create the Simulation
  3. Tutorial: How to Post-Process the Results

The first step would be to register for this webinar to learn all the details about the competition and the project.

Why Simulation?

“There are millions of people using this standard design of the latrine but barely any testing has been done, and to our knowledge, none with the precision of an engineering simulation tool. Therefore, the benefit of using CFD simulation will not only change the design of our own latrine but also provide best practices to other organizations and especially improve the health and safety of many people,” says Neven Subotic.

Simulation of a VIP latrine with SimScale 768
Simulation of a VIP latrine (source: SimScale)

In order to launch the project as quickly as possible, we are seeking engineers with (computer-aided design) CAD and computer-aided engineering (CAE) experience to assist with optimization and simulation efforts.

Professionals interested in joining the challenge or learning more about the projects of Neven Subotic Foundation can join on the official page, where they can also register for a webinar to learn all the details. 

Children in front of a VIP latrine in Ethiopia built by Neven Subotic Foundation
Children in front of a VIP latrine in Ethiopia built by Neven Subotic Foundation

To learn more about a previous optimization project of Neven Subotic Foundation and SimScale, read this article.


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