x-runner Venture: leading the transition to sustainable and inclusive cities through a reliable, safe and resilient sanitation system.

By providing a high quality service, a portable dry toilet and weekly waste collection, x-runner improves the lives of Peru´s urban poor.

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  • Yes, I'm eligible

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  • English

Organization name

x-runner Venture

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $250k - $500k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 1,000 - 5,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Peru

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Peru: Lima



Facebook URL


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Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

x-runner addresses two of the most critical topics in the world today: sanitation and water. One of the countries that is heavily affected by these problems is Peru. Its capital, Lima, is the second driest capital in the world. It has a population of 10 million, growing at 2% annually, and is expected to face severe water scarcity by 2025. Currently, 2 million people in Lima´s slums lack access to safe and reliable sanitation, leading to ground and water contamination and spreading of diseases like diarrhea and typhoid.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

The cities of the future need a sanitation service alternative that provides for safe, full-cycle management of feces from dense communities without relying on water. x-runner offers the solution: it provides a waterless toilet to be used at home, in which urine and feces are contained separately. Once a week a service truck goes by the communities and picks up the feces, which are stored in compostable toilet liners. The collected waste is then transported to the treatment plant where it undergoes a natural treatment and is processed into nutrient-rich compost. The customer does not pay for the toilet itself, but instead pays a monthly subscription starting from 9 US$ for the weekly pick-up service. The subscription fee makes up around 2% of the average customer’s monthly income. The most promising for creating shared value is x-runner´s potential to inspire the transition to sustainable and inclusive cities through a reliable, safe and resilient sanitation system.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

The experience so far has shown great results – x-runner has implemented its project in the south of Lima, where over 3,650 beneficiaries (780 families in 190 communities) use the system on a daily base. The 2017 satisfaction research resulted in a 98% satisfaction rate and 92% percent of the beneficiaries express that x-runner´s services improved the health of their family. The service provides families with access to safe and reliable sanitation, reduced exposure to fecal contamination and greater water conservation. Entire communities become educated on issues around hygiene and sanitation, and benefit from the removal of dangerous and harmful waste. Wanting to maximize the impact of its model, x-runner never stops optimizing benefits for its beneficiaries by cooperating with community leaders and constantly improving their service according to community feedback. Moreover, its ability to adapt to any context, makes the model easily replicable and scalable.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

In 2017, the annual budget comes 22% from earned income from users and 78% from grants. In order to achieve economic sustainability the main focus is on: 1.New sources of income from businesses and government: (1) Consultancy and implementation of alternative sanitation, and (2) workshops related to water and sanitation, urban poverty, circular economy, social and environmental entrepreneurship and Human Centered Design. In 2017, x-runner started selling these services and plans to strengthen these business units. 2. Assessing internal processes to make them more resource efficient. This started in 2017 by reviewing the acquisition processes and implementing a centralized Supply Chain Management. The team plans to continue improving the internal processes to make them more cost-effective

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

x-runner provides a unique alternative to the two problematic common sanitation practices of Lima. Firstly, the waterborne sewerage is ineffective and impractical in a growing number of urban contexts. They require large amounts of water to function properly, responsable regulation and in Lima´s slums, massive rocks and steep hills make it difficult to implement the system. Secondly, pit latrines, which most families in the slums use, convert homes and communities into sources of infection.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Co-founder Isabel Medem: “The idea of a toilet system for low-income urban households already existed, but it was not until I was searching for viable pilot locations, and visiting the homes of Lima slum dwellers that I realized the real difference we could make in people’s lives. The people that I met worked extremely hard to afford their daily lives and were participating as full citizens in the city, yet were constantly being held back by their poverty. One woman in particular, Delia, a single mother, was pouring her entire energy into building a better life for her children, but the unsanitary, infectious and dangerous hole in the ground that functioned as her toilet kept holding her and her family back. I realized that if we figured out a way to provide people like Delia a dignified, hygienic and safe toilet, the quality of life for her family would improve instantly”.

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