Market solutions to Cambodia’s toilet troubles

Sanitation marketing in Cambodia.

Sanitation marketing in Cambodia. Photo: WaterSHED

At the current rate of 1.3% increase in latrine coverage per year it will take Cambodia 60 years to become Open Defecation Free (ODF).  Using market-based approaches, the WaterSHED programme has manged to achieve a 7% annual increase in coverage in the districts where it is active, according to IRIN.

WaterSHED has helped to bring down the price of toilets from between US$ 250 and US$ 400 to a much more affordable US$ 45. This has resulted in the sale of 75,000 toilets in 59 of Cambodia’s 171 districts over the past four years.

Rath Chan Thin, a toilet salesperson in Kompong Chhnang province said in the past she would sell no more than 25 toilets a year.

“Now people buy the toilets. In the last year, I have sold 650 toilets,” she said, pointing to her dip in price and community sales events that bring suppliers and local residents together for toilet product demonstrations.

WaterSHED regional program manager Geoff Revell says that fair prices and access to credit in combination with targeted subsidies for the very poor, is the way forward to scale-up toilet construction.

But what happens when the toilet pits are full? The WaterSHED programme does not appear to deal the full sanitation chain. Developing market-based approaches for faecal sludge management services in Cambodia and Viet Nam, where WaterSHED is also active, would seem a logical next step.

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Source: Market solutions to Cambodia’s toilet troubles, IRIN, 5 Jun 2014

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2 responses to “Market solutions to Cambodia’s toilet troubles

  1. I wonder if this is not a too “Western” approach to things. In India, where this same discussion has erupted after the rape of two girls in a field, “open defecation” was a way of fertilizing their fields. When Indira Gandhi and her son sent troops and surgeons into the rural areas to effect “voluntary” sterilization of men” these then began to hide instead of going to the fields to defecate at the break of dawn. The result. widespread food shortages. So I hope you’re not facing a campaign call for “donate fertilizer” a few years down the road.

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