Malawi urine project earmarked for world award

The expression “taking the pee” has taken on new meaning. While this colloquial term is an impolite way of indicating someone is making fun of you, This is not the case with a 58 year old man Goodfellow Phiri.

Phiri training pupils on urine harvesting.

Phiri training pupils on urine harvesting.

Phiri buys a 5 litre bucket of urine at the price of K300  a  20 litre bucket is bought at K1,000.

He  uses the urine to manufacture organic manure.

Phiri with funding from Global Environmental Facility (GEF) has managed to turn the project into a house hold name in the capital Lilongwe’s populous Area 25 where people are flocking to his factory to buy the liquid fertilizer manufactured from urine.

“I have not bought fertilizer for the past seven years and I harvest a lot of maize and other crops after applying this fertilizer,” said Phiri.

Phiri who has a Diploma from Bunda College says he is happy that the project is currently gaining momentum.

“Let me thank some international Non Governmental Organisation for choosing to work with me in promoting the project,”  he said.

Phiri commended Self Help Africa and Good Nebors for unwavering support towards the project.

“We are growing big and bigger each passing day in urine fertilizer and currently we have elected big tanks at Nsungwi market of 2,000 to 3,000 liters capacity and we always encourage our vendors there not to urine anywhere but in those designated places,” said Phiri.

Meanwhile, Urine for wealth project has emerged one of only 6 finalists out of 400 contenders from 60 countries in the world.

Phiri said in October, 2014, Hivos Social Innovation Award (HSIA) invited entrepreneurs from around the world to submit innovative projects for social innovation award competition.

Goodfellow Tsilizani Phiri

Goodfellow Tsilizani Phiri

According to Phiri, 400 projects were submitted from 60 countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, India, China, Afganistan, USA and  Russia.

Phiri said Malawi submitted 5 projects to contest and these were;  Gender equality, Youth empowerment in agriculture, Biogas energy, afforestation  and the winning Urine for wealth.

He said in the preliminary round, selection was by online public voting.

Phiri said consequently, only 20 projects with most votes out of 400 contenders excelled through to semi-finals and Urine for wealth went through the vetting.

According to Phiri,  the semi-finals involved personal interviews through skype by a panel of judges in Holland, Amsterdam, assignments and submitting a full project proposal.

Phiri said  only 6 contenders among them Urine for wealth project out of 20 semi-finalists excelled through to the finals which are slated for February 5,  2015 in Holland, Amsterdam.

During the finals only 2 winners will get the prize of €15,000 each.

Phiri who owns Environmental Industries is an  architect of  the project which is representing Malawi at the World contest for social innovation award in Amsterdam.

The finals will involve physical presentation of the project before a panel of judges.

Urine for wealth is a project about harvesting human urine and processing the same into organic fertilizers called Bionitrate.

According to Phiri,  Bionitrate is 100% liquid organic nitrogen applicable to crops, landscape and orchards as alternative to chemical fertilizers.

The fertilizer is made by Environmental Industries in Lilongwe, Area 25.

The technology aims at promoting organic farming in the work of costly imported chemical fertilizers and degraded agricultural soils.

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What is needed here is to expand the project to other areas. This is a welcome idea. Very good and it will benefit the rural masses heavy. Fertiliser kudula and amagugitsa nthaka yathu. Zimenezi amapanga a C Code or some other organisation attached to this name. How far are there with their project? Lets utilise what we have. Kumidziko timangothila mikhodzo pa zinyalala ndiyeno kuthira kumunda. I dont know how healthy is this idea. This is real news guys. Lets support it for the good of mother Malawi. Bravo Mr Phiri. With his diploma he can do this what about… Read more »

Good innovation man. Malawi need people who can think like him.

Hagar the Horrible
Continue working on your idea and perhaps send your proposal to Gates Foundation for a larger and commercially viable project. Gates usually gets fascinated by such innovative ideas. We have the capacity to produce enough urine in Malawi and significantly cut on the use of fertilizers. Think of all the urine that goes to waste every night at Bwandilo, Biwi, Kamba, and all other drinking places as well as households. It can surely be recycled and used productively. I’m already feeling the urge to pee and wondering if I should waste the urine by flushing it down the toilet. Work… Read more »
Sacks Chilli

So how much is the fertilizer selling for per bag (of what weight?)? Are ther any selling points in other districts?


Mr Phiri is from Mitundu, Lilongwe.


jst add rainy water wt salt kukokera ikwane five liters


The Phiri Clan is a Chewa Clan


But how then does this work because when we urinate behind trees they dry up or do they need to be phirinised first


Good news. Just a quick question, though: How is Mr. Phiri ensuring that the liquid fertilizer is pathogen free since some of the urine may have pathogens such as those that cause bilharzia? The issue should not be stopping the project but ensuring that the project operates at high standards that prevent spread of diseases. Disinfection of the liquid fertilizer may be necessary.

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