In Summary
  • The urination funnel also called the stand-to-pee device (STP) is hardly a Kenyan invention and is available the world over in a myriad of shapes and sizes.

  • It was invented in 1999 by a British University student as a way to improve toilet trips especially in public rest rooms or places where there are no toilet facilities for women.

When I first heard about the urination funnel a few years ago, I laughed. I assumed that it was yet another misguided invention by a group of feminazis trying to be men. You know, like the free bleeding movement in the US that pushes for woman to bleed freely during their menses no matter where the blood may end up because they believe that sanitary essentials are a man’s invention intended to rape women.

Then, I few months ago, I came across Dada Dada, a locally manufactured brand of the urination funnel and my interest was piqued again. I had to try it. The slogan on the company website is Susuu Bila Stress and their sales angle emphasises on peeing without the stress of having to squat and sit on dirty toilet seats, I wanted to know if it indeed works.

A pack of 10 disposable urination funnels, I learnt, goes for Sh400 but I was lucky there was an offer. When I was finally ready to try them, I ordered online and I got them delivered to me at just Sh100.

Joan Thatiah rates the controversial 'susuu pipe'.

I had a ton of questions before I set off on my adventure; wasn’t it going to be a hustle squeezing the tiny thing between my thighs? Was it going to be messy? How would I dispose it off?

As soon as they arrived, I excitedly took photos of the pack and asked my social media interactions what they thought of the idea, whether any female had used the urination funnel yet and what their experience was. I got two or three women who have tried the cup with differing experiences but the rest of it was uproar. Women swore that they would never be caught dead putting that ‘thing’ in between their legs. Men asked me why I was not content to be a woman and why I was trying so hard to be a man. A Ugandan radio station even made a show out of my post, making fun of how Kenyan women have invented a ‘Susuu cup’.

The urination funnel also called the stand-to-pee device (STP) is hardly a Kenyan invention and is available the world over in a myriad of shapes and sizes. It was invented in 1999 by a British University student as a way to improve toilet trips especially in public rest rooms or places where there are no toilet facilities for women yet for some reason, Kenyans are fixated on it being a feminist issue.

Undeterred, I went on my quest to find out if the urination funnel is something I may need to have in my handbag or just a bad idea. I was worried about spillage and making a mess, so I had my first try at home and it went surprisingly well. It was easy to use and alas! No mess. The experience may be different for a woman who is a lot fuller around the thighs.

The Dada Dada funnel is made of water proof paper and is thus recyclable. Each pack comes with 10 sachets, each individually packed and with a piece of tissue paper.

Impressed with my first experience, I threw the rest of them in my handbag waiting for another opportune moment to try them. I got a few raised brows from those security guards at entrance of buildings who poke at the contents of your handbag. A male customs officer at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos where I had travelled for work wondered a bit too loud for comfort, if I am a medical doctor. Ha!

Overall, I had a good experience using the urination funnel. I think it’s a great invention, easy to carry around and also surprisingly easy to use.

I can also see it being useful to a pregnant woman or a woman with joint pains and who has problems squatting. I am not sure that it will be practical for women to go to the urinal as some of the photos on the company website suggest, but the urination funnel would also be a great option for the outdoorsy types that have to squat behind bushes every time. Come to think of it, how much easier would it be to give a urine sample at the hospital lab with this funnel?

The average person pees six to ten times a day. At the price of Sh40 per piece that would work up to Sh240- 400 a day, making it quite an expensive affair for most women.

The verdict

The marketing– 1/10 The general assumption is that the urination funnel is an assertion of feminism and that those who use it are trying to be men. Using pictures of women peeing beside men in a urinal also doesn’t help the cause.

Practicality – 9/10 It’s a great product to use when in a public toilet, when pregnant or when having joint problems. It’s quite easy to use.

Pricing – 5/10 While the urination funnel may come in handy in instances where a woman needs to go without the comforts of her home, Sh40 a piece is not affordable for the regular Kenyan woman.