The Blair VIP - the ventilated improved pit latrine & its variants

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The Blair VIP (ventilated improved pit) latrine was first designed in 1973 by Peter Morgan, who worked for the Blair Research laboratory (now known as the National Institute of Health Research), the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare's research laboratory.

The Blair VIP, named after Dr Dyson Blair (who inspired the research which led to the development) is now used widely throughout Africa and many other developing countries, where it is known simply as the VIP.

A large number of variants have been designed over the years including toilets that use ecological principles, those that use tanks rather than pits and a low cost and an upgradeable series which can be improved over time.

Double and multi-compartment units have also been designed. The multi-compartment unit is used throughout rural and many peri-urban settlements of Zimbabwe in schools.

The Blair VIP uses natural principles to control odour and flies common to normal pit toilets.

500 000 units have been built in Zimbabwe alone, although many of these are now full (the pit fills up in 10 - 15 years).

A new lower cost approach is now being used in Zimbabwe, called an Upgradeable BVIP, where the system is built in stages (start simple and upgrade).

Blair VIPs or "Blairs" as they are commonly known are frequently used as bathrooms. The Blair VIP and its variants have been promoted by Government since 1975. It is a wholly Zimbabwean creation.


Pictures, videos, & downloadable resources

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Blair Latrine Movie:


Blair Research Laboratory interviews - 1992:


Old footage from the 70s (Blair latrine @ 2:15 & 3:10):


Using natural principles in toilet design (ppt)

A short history of the Blair Toilet (ppt)

Blair Latrine paper Jan 1977. CAJM

Blair Ventilated Privy Paper 1979

Blair Latrine. 4 bag model

Blair Latrine. 5 bag model

Blair Multi-compartment Latrine

Blair Research Laboratory Paper Nov 1977. CAJM

On site sanitation - a range of technical options to suit a range of needs (ppt)

Zimbabwe's Rural Sanitation Program


The Ventilated Arborloo. A hybrid between The Arborloo and The Blair VIP. July 2023.

Blair VIP. A hybrid used like an Arborloo. February 2019

Blair VIP. Reduced cost (ppt)

Blair VIP. Designs at reduced cost 1

Blair VIP. Designs at reduced cost 2

Blair VIP. Floating foundation method. March 2015

Blair VIP. Garden version

Blair VIP. Latest developments 2013

Blair VIP. Manual (short)

Blair VIP. Overcoming collapse and reducing cost. March 2015

Blair VIP. Removable slab version

Blair VIP. Removable slab version (ppt)

Blair VIP. The ventilated Arborloo - a VIP variant

Blair VIP. Tank version

Blair VIP. The Bottom Line. Nature. 2012

Blair VIP. Improved VIPs for rural areas


We can do it. Girls build a Blair VIP toilet

How to make simple pedestals (ppt)

How to build a modern BVIP with internal vent (ppt)

Building a brick VIP toilet with door (ppt)

Building a small brick spiral VIP toilet (ppt)

The spiral (doorless) superstructure. An easy method (ppt)

Toilet Superstructures. spirals, doors and hinges. Step by step (ppt)

Portable and recyclable structures for medium depth pits (ppt)

Making a 1.2m concrete slab for various toilet constructions (ppt)

Making lighter weight, strong, ferro-cement slabs for the Blair VIP toilet. Feb 2014

What can I do with a bag of cement. April 2016

Zimbabwean Improved Pit Latrines. Zimbabwean Brick Designs


Blair uBVIP a new approach to providing sanitation in Zimbabwe (ppt)

Blair uBVIP explained (ppt)

Blair uBVIP guidelines

Blair uBVIP booklet

Blair uBVIP manual for brick and tubular vents


Pit Recycling. Methods of emptying Blair VIP toilets

Pit Recycling. The archimedes screw - its usefulness in toilet pit and tank excavation. 2012

Pit Recycling. A method of emptying the Blair VIP built with removable slab

Pit Recycling. A method of recycling pit contents (ppt)

Pit Recycling. Planting trees over material excavated from VIP toilets

Recycling a brick toilet in a day (ppt)


Other Toilet Systems - The Epworth pour flush toilet system. 2012

Other Toilet Systems - Modifying flush toilets to save water. 2014

Additional resources on main resource page here


© 2022 Dr Peter Morgan