Viet Nam: sustainability of rural sanitation marketing

Access to sanitary toilets continues to rise in coastal communities in Viet Nam years after a successful pilot project ended.

ADCOM Vietnam, WSP [Water and Sanitation Program] and IRC [International Water and Sanitation Centre] wrote a case study [1] on the sustainability of the rural sanitation marketing (RSM) pilot project in Vietnam. This pilot project was very successful. Between January 2003 and June 2006, over a period of 34 months, households in the 30 pilot communes constructed or upgraded 15,149 toilets, an average of 3,787 toilets per year. This was four times more than during the conventional programme. Of the owners, an average of 16% was below the poverty line, against an average of 19% in the target population. Almost three years after the end of the pilot project, the case study team went back to eight communes to look at the sustainability of the approach and the results. In all study communes, all but one of the promoters had continued the promotion of sanitary toilets and the end of open defecation without incentives, be it at a lower intensity. The local private sector had meanwhile developed further. They now offered a larger range of products with varying prices and also gave various types of credit to customer.

Sanitation Leaflet. Photo: IDE/WSP (fig. 13 in WSP publication)

A number of lessons can be drawn from the case study both for Viet Nam and other countries.

“Long-term sustainability of the sanitation marketing approach in Vietnam—and elsewhere—seems to depend on several factors,” observes report co-author Jacqueline Devine, senior social marketing specialist at WSP. “These factors include providing ongoing budgeting for market research, production of promotional materials, and institutionalized promoter and provider training; adding Community-Led Total Sanitation to eradicate open defecation; and developing a more poor-specific marketing strategy.”

Read the summary of the findings of the RSM study

See also a diagram and two presentations on the RSM pilot project

[1] Read the full report: Sijbesma, C., Truong, T.X. and Devine, J. (2010). Case study on sustainability of rural sanitation marketing in Vietnam. (Global Scaling Up Sanitation Project. Technical paper). Washington, DC, USA, Water and Sanitation Program. xi, 78 p. : 8 boxes, 31 fig., 16 tab. 37 ref. Download full report [PDF, 4.72 MB]

A presentation discussing the case study’s findings and recommendations will be streamed LIVE via the Web on Thursday, May 6, 8 – 10 am (U.S. Eastern Standard Time). The streamed Webcast will be available to the public through the following URL (activated during event only): mms://

Source: IRC – Rural Sanitation Marketing in Vietnam, 03 May 2010 ; WSP, 30 Apr 2010

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