Kin toilet link

Public Toilet in Kinshasa

Kinshasa/DR Congo

Kinshasa, formerly Léopoldville, is the capital and the largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.The city is situated alongside the Congo River. Once a site of fishing and trading villages, Kinshasa is now a megacity with an estimated population of more than 11 million. According to UN-Habitat, 390,000 people migrate from Kinshasa annually, fleeing warfare and seeking economic opportunity.
• City-province 9,965 km2 (3,848 sq mi)
• Urban 600 km2 (200 sq mi)

There are less than 50 public toilets in the city of kinshasa. Only seven of these facilities are located within the Central Business District – inside railway station not accessible, Huilerie road, recreational parks Marché central, and at a few other locations with heavy human traffic. Most of the city’s PTs (87 percent) are found outside the CBD, located to serve residential estates, markets, and commercial center.


At present most PTs in Kinshasa are in very poor condition (Box 1); they are dilapidated, vandalized, and lack privacy (due to missing doors and windows). Roofing material and floor slabs are often damaged or absent.


The water supply and electrical systems are often broken, following theft of piping, fittings, and other accessories. Most toilets require repair of some of the following items: water supply, toilet-flushing system, cisterns, doors, windows, water storage facilities, washbasins, floor slabs, roof structure, walls, paint surface, and electrical system. 

WSM (2007) estimated costs of repair and rehabilitation required for each toilet. 

The total estimate (....), an average (.....) per PT Summary Most of Kinshasa’s public toilets (PTs) were built during the colonial era or soon afterwards.

They are now owned by the Kinshasa municipality (Hotel de ville), but for a variety of reasons they have received little maintenance or management attention for the last 40 years and many are in a very unhygienic, barely functioning state. A number of different NGOs and individuals (including street children) have tried to fill this void in management.

This note reviews these arrangements: most were found wanting in a number of respects, including hygiene and long overdue refurbishment. To assist the Kinshasa municipality in addressing this situation, WSM via its Water and Sanitation Program-Africa undertook a study of the refurbishment, management, and operation of public toilets in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Kenya and India, and concluded that there was considerable potential for private sector participation (PSP) in Management in Kinshasa. Benefits include efficiency gains, improved quality of service, and the ability to raise funds for refurbishment.

Different options were considered and two variants of a concession contract (build, finance, and operate) were selected: one, a fully private sector commercial operation for toilets within the central business district (CBD), and the other, involving community-based organizations from the surrounding residential neighborhood.

 The Municipality accepted these recommendations and plans were in place (September 2007) for the competitive procurement of operators for a small number of PTs in a pilot phase, starting with five-year contracts. Introduction Human excreta are a major threat to public health and the environment in Kinshasa. Unless properly managed, human waste is the source of both widespread disease and loss of civic and personal dignity and value.

PTs are widely available for people who frequent the public areas of Kinshasa, but their condition has been, until now, appalling. There has been a steady decline in most municipal budgets, and the lack of funding has led to almost complete neglect of maintenance and management of PT facilities. In addition, construction of new facilities has not kept pace with population growth.

Towards the end of calendar year2007 the municipality of Kinshasa town approached WSM for technical support in the development of guidelines to involve private service providers in the management of the city’s Pts. A study was undertaken and the WSM formally adopted the report in 2007. This field note summarizes the findings of that study and subsequent developments.



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