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.