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Smells of success...

By Luca Saraceno | 22 Nov, 2016

Dear all,

“Pecunia non olet” said Emperor Vespasianus circa 70 AD. Translated it means “money doesn’t stink”; it is a Latin sentence still being used in Italy today. Vespasianus was responding to his son, who complained of the bad smell that was coming from the toilets whose sewage was collected by the Cloaca Maxima in Rome, the most advanced sewerage systems in ancient history, still partially in existence today. The “pecunia” or money he was referring to were the taxes he imposed for the utilization of such latrines.

Yet, bad smell may after all reduce the money that could be generated by latrines, especially if you are charging for their use, as it happens in many of the non formal urban contexts where several NGOs operate, and where systems of income generation around the latrine construction and management services are fostered and stimulated by sanitation marketing approaches implemented by many organizations.
Bad smell will turn customers away, leading to economic loss for the modern Vespasianuses in Nairobi or Freetown managing public latrines in the non-formal urban areas, and will also very likely lead to poor sanitation and all the consequences of that.

I invite you to read this beautifully written post by Bill Gates, in which he describes one of the projects funded by the B&MGF. It is almost exhilarating to read how the perfume industry, taking advantage of some neurobiological characteristics of the olfactory bulb receptors, have come out with an incredible and potentially effective solution for one of the factors limiting the usage of public latrines.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/development/smells-of-success?WT.mc_id=11_17_2016_...

All the best

Luca

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