Sunday, January 15, 2006

Nigeria: DMT Mobile Toilets

"Shit business is a serious business” –Isaac Durojaiye, Founder of DMT Mobile Toilets, Nigeria.

As unpleasant as this subject may come across to some (you have my apologies if you fall into this category), it has to be said that the world is indeed a better place since the invention of the water closet. This gadget is perhaps the most overlooked of all inventions, and likewise- the bodily function for which it is designed- is not the most favorable topic of discussion, well, except you are in the healthcare business or- as in this case- in the “business of shit”.

Isaac Durojaiye, or Otunba Gadaffi as some have chosen to refer to him, is a Nigerian in the business of shit. Okay, sorry, he is an Environmental Sanitation Entrepreneur- better? But whatever names or synonyms you’d rather use to describe what he does, he really doesn’t care! All he smells is "money and not the Shit" since his business started in 1992.

As the founder of DMT Mobile Toilet in Nigeria, he's “demonstrated that it is possible to achieve a double bottom line in Nigeria. He has proven that it is possible to make money, while transforming the environment, and the lives of millions of people.”

If you are a non-African, or yet to excurse any third world nation you may be wondering “what is the big deal?” Right? I’m ashamed to state this- many of the basic amenities used daily in advanced countries are not so basic in other places. And public toilets are one of these amenities. The few ones available in Nigerian major cities and public buildings are not well maintained- that is if they are functional at all.

So what has Mr Durojaiye done? At first, he started his business by providing services at the usual Nigerian owambe (social) gatherings and public functions. Now, he provides “public toilets at bus stops and in densely populated areas in major cities within the country”. And If the statements on the corporate DMT website are anything to go by, Isaac also employs a clever strategy to minimize the vandalism of his assets by street urchins and miscreants by employing them to maintain his toilets:
“Each toilet typically serves about 100 people a day and the “area boys” collect N20 [twenty naira] per toilet used(sic). They are required to share a portion of their proceeds with DMT Mobile Toilets . Through this partnership, some of these area boys not only earn decent salaries, they also gain meaningful work experience and no more constitute nuisance to the society.”
This Graphics design and business major, and former Security Officer has found and capitalized on a niche, and even if it’s a shitty and smelly one for that matter- he cares less.

“We don't discriminate against any "shit" regardless of race, sex, religion, language, creed, distance and location”, Isaac Durojaiye states on his website.