The Upward Spiral Project 2017

a student driven initiative towards sustainable sanitation in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Tanzania is an East African country with a population of over 53 million people. In Tanzania, population growth and urbanization increases at one of the fastest rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. Even though urbanization has provided economic and human development, poor governance and management of urban areas have resulted in uncontrolled growth and inadequate services regarding infrastructure as well as water, sanitation and hygiene sectors (WASH).

Our project, the Upward Spiral, concentrates on the sanitation conditions in three informal settlements in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Keko Machungwa (Temeke municipality), Karakata (Ilala municipality) and Mburahati (Kinondoni municipality). Previous phases of the project focused on the implementation of a dry toilet system. Since then, thirty-four toilets have been constructed resulting in improved sanitation conditions in the communities. In addition to the improvement of sanitation conditions, the two chamber structure of the dry toilets serves as a composting system. This yields a resource that can be used to build a basis for commercial activities within the local communities. However, given that current infrastructure in place would require expansions to produce enough product for commercial purposes, it currently relies strongly on foreign financial inflows, mainly from Finland and thus is not self-sustainable.

The Upward Spiral Project 2017 is implemented as a part of The Sustainable Global Technologies (SGT) studio course at Aalto University, and truly emphasizes the importance of an interdisciplinary team. Our squad consist of six individuals from four different countries and four different disciplines. For more information about our Squad, please visit the site “About Us“. Complementing the squad is our mentor, MSc (Architecture) Zita Floret. The project is implemented in collaboration with local NGOs in Dar es Salaam and Tanzania. The Upward Spiral Project started in January 2017 and is estimated to continue five months until May 2017.

During a two week site visit in Dar es Salaam, the Tanzanitation Squad will be researching, analyzing and documenting all the aspects that are necessary to create a self-sustaining system around the existing toilets. Within those two weeks, we gather information locally and use it to formulate a final project report. In this report, we give recommendations about what is necessary to transform the status quo into a self-sustaining system based on the findings.