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Growing up in Maseida, Tanzania, Martin Baha found it difficult to make ends meet.

Opportunities for young people in this farming village had always been thin on the ground, so Martin would move around the district looking for casual labour, sometimes cutting down trees or burning charcoal.

When that work dried up he decided to start up his own enterprise: brewing alcohol to sell to the local youth – a career path born out of frustration and desperation.

Now 36, Martin’s entrepreneurial streak is still very much alive, but he's applied it to something with a much more positive impact – he is Maseida's go-to man for new toilets.

In demand

Maseida has always struggled with sanitation. Some families built their own toilets but these tended to collapse during the rainy season, leaving their owners with no other option than to use the surrounding bush.

This makeshift solution meant living with a foul smell and the risk of diseases that bad sanitation brings.

Martin Baha stands by the concrete mixer used to build toilets for his community, Maseida, in Tanzania.

Realising the demand for better toilets, Martin took part in a training programme supported by WaterAid and its partners, which taught him the skills he would need to install latrines – and set up a viable business doing so.

A vital part of his training was learning the basics of marketing, and how to use it for social good.

Rather than offering a one-size-fits-all solution, Martin set up a showcase of ten different toilet designs in the town’s newly-established sanitation centre. Quickly, word-of-mouth spread and the customers started to roll in. 

New opportunities

Now that Martin’s got customers, he can focus on the legwork of installing the latrines.

“It can be very tiring," he says. "But I love my job nonetheless, first because I help my community to live a clean and decent life, and because it has given me a fresh start.”

His toilet business has created jobs in Maseida and allowed Martin to establish more successful enterprises, like a cafeteria where the local youth can gather to watch films. 

Eliyah, a neighbour of Martin, sums up the transformation in his life: “Now he’s a role model to young people.”