2016 – Sipaia,
Papua New Guinea

Sipaia Composting Toilets (Revisited)

(including construction, management and research)

  • Location: Lae, Papua New Guinea
  • Dates: Project is ongoing

View the original project

Bower 16 Revisited

Bower Studio has been to Sipaia in Lae, Papua New Guinea four times now. Two for building components (2012, 2016), and two for research and follow up purposes (2013, 2017). Our latest travel in July 2017 was focused on researching the impact of the sustainable composting toilets previously built and where additional toilets could be built in the future.

Over four days we conducted 305 surveys throughout the Sipaia community. We also conducted 98 surveys in the neighbouring community of Bumbu as a comparison. Both surveys had a return rate greater than 92%, which was a fantastic result.

During the July trip we set up a local work team comprising of 4-7 Sipaia community members. We taught the local work team the skills to be able to budget building a composting toilet, and how to buy materials from local suppliers. The materials were bought and delivered July 19, 2017, and the new toilet was built in less than 20 days. We believe this to be an amazing achievement for the community and the local work crew as they not only had to build it without Bower Studio’s guidance, but also building in the wet season is a challenge in itself.

I believe whatever lessons, skills, that you (Bower Studio) have taught us, we will stand by that and we have team work within the group, and we will help each other out, see what can be done, what can be needed. But mostly what I want to say before I finish, is that I want to say a very big thank you to you guys for the challenge that you gave us to build the toilet, this time, by ourselves, thank you. Joseph Benson (a member of the "work team")

More information

Funding Agencies

  • Australian High Commission Port Moresby Heads of Mission Direct Aid Program
  • Melbourne School of Design (University of Melbourne)

Project Partners

  • Special thanks to Keith, Trevor and Lucie Galgal

Community Leaders

  • Malac Tabi Yaling
  • Magas Hamalac
  • Sandy Karo
  • Luther Jacob
  • Susie David
  • Dala Yaling
  • Tali Aikou
  • Newton Saing
  • Special thanks to the local work team in Sipaia

Studio Leaders

  • Dr David O’Brien


  • David Gerber
  • Georgia Hall