Microfinance boosts latrine purchases in rural Cambodia | Source: WaterSHED, Sept 27, 2013 |
An innovative way to integrate micro-finance and sanitation marketing is resulting in a truly Hands-Off success story and helping to scale up access to safe toilets by the rural poor.
Many proponents of market-based sanitation programs around the world are keen to explore financing as a way to make toilets more accessible to the rural poor. The most repeated complaint by rural villagers when discussing toilet adoption in Cambodia, like elsewhere, is aut louy or “no money”.
Cost is also one of the major roadblocks in offering sanitation financing: loan assessment, disbursement, and payment collections are expensive activities. Because loans for toilets are relatively small, the interest (even at high rates) is not likely to offset the operating costs of the micro-finance institution (MFI). Furthermore, MFIs typically prefer to offer ‘productive’ loans as a opposed to ‘consumptive’ ones because of their lower risk of delinquency or default (a loan to buy a sewing machine for a small business that will generate revenue to make payments as opposed to a loan to repair the roof of a house). Loans to purchase toilets and water filters are considered consumptive.
WaterSHED’s Vietnamese HappyTap. Photo: WaterSHED
The HappyTap, a low-cost handwashing device for the Vietnamese market, is one of seven innovations to receive a grant from the WASH for Life Partnership. This US$ 17 million initiative is co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV).
In 2010, with USAID support, the WaterSHED program teamed with the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) to develop and market a new handwashing device. The design came from IDEO.org, which itself has received a WASH for Life grant for Clean Kumasi, an digitally-supported approach to Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). Together with Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), IDEO.org is working to combat open defecation in Kumasi, Ghana using mobile phones and open-source mapping.
Examples of signs posted to prompt residents to flash Clean Kumasi. Photo: IDEO.org
Posted in Africa, East Asia & Pacific, Hygiene Promotion, Sanitation and Health, South Asia
Tagged Bear Valley Ventures, chlornation, Clean Hands Inc, Clean Hands Inc, Clean Kumasi, Community-Led Total Sanitation, Gates Foundation, handwashing, HappyTap, IDEO.org, Innovations for Poverty Action, open defecation, Sanergy, USAID, WASH for Life Partnership, WaterSHED
WaterSHED is led by the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health and supported by USAID’s Regional Development Mission-Asia (RDMA). WaterSHED, which stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Enterprise Development, is a public-private partnership designed to bring effective, affordable water and sanitation products to market in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.