The Sanitation Value Chain: Designing Sanitation Systems as Eco-Community-Value System


Our Point of View

The Sanitation Value Chain

Our project proposes a new concept, the Sanitation Value Chain, which in relation to developing and developed countries.

Generally, “sanitation” refers to the facilities of processing human urine and faeces for the safe disposal. We try to transform it into one focused on the creation of value. We consider sanitation not merely as a technology, but as chains of values themselves within human society and communities. It is a model of the Sanitation Value Chain.

Interdisciplinary Project

Interdisciplinary Project

For a comprehensive understanding of sanitation, and to provide visibility to our research, we have set up four interdisciplinary teams across the humanities, social sciences, engineering and natural sciences.


Composed of experts in the fields of anthropology, medical and health sciences, economics, political science and development studies, this team focuses on the histories and sense of values of the people in each community, clarifying the relationship between sanitation and their lifeworlds.


Composed of experts in engineering, this team reevaluates the conditions necessary for applying sanitation technology in light of those values, developing technology suited to each different community.


This team’s experts in medical and health sciences, engineering, agricultural science, anthropology, economics, political science and development studies collaborate with stakeholders to co-create the Sanitation Value Chain model and actualize it in the community.


Composed of experts and practitioners in science communication, this team serves as a communication tool between researchers and people of the community, providing visibility to the concepts and results of research.

Research Fields

Research Fields

We are conducting surveys in urban and rural areas of developing countries where sanitation mechanisms are not widespread. In Japan, we are conducting research in the rural areas of the Ishikari River basin in Hokkaido as an example of an aging and depopulating society.


We are considering the design of a value chain through sanitation, introducing systems into the community for composting human waste, and incubating the possibility of creating local businesses.

JapanIshikari River Basin

In a depopulating region where infrastructure maintenance is becoming more difficult, we aim to co-create autonomous mechanism for sanitation teaming up with a high school that serves as a nucleus in the community.

Burkina FasoOuagadougou and Kongoussi

In addition to investigating the social position of human waste collection, we are working with a local NGO to operate a pilot farm used compost made from human waste for exploring the possibility of the Sanitation Value Chain in the community.


Using exposure assays for coliform bacteria, we are seeking clues to elucidate causes and find solutions for cholera outbreaks and diarrhea. In addition, we are working with local children and youth who are undertaking “action research” on the problem of sanitation.


We are investigating the origin of toilets by the research of hunter-gatherer lifestyles and the custom of excretion in circumstances where there are no toilets.


We are investigating cultural meaning about “dirty” and historical process of sanitation issues related to the “caste” system.

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