WSP/ADB – Sanitation Finance in Rural Cambodia

Sanitation Finance in Rural Cambodia: Review and Recommendations. Andy Robinson. Water and Sanitation Program; Asian Development Bank. May 2010.

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The study primarily contains a comparative analysis of different approaches to financing sanitation:  CLTS, project subsidies and social marketing. The report also makes a suggestion for a sanitation financing system based on conditional cash transfers, which to date have been mainly used in education and health care.

Some of the main findings include the following:

Comparative analysis of case studies

The comparative analysis confirms that public finance for sanitation in Cambodia is not reaching those below the poverty line. Ninety percent of the public finance for the large ADB program goes to non-poor households, and the two sanitation marketing project will require households to contribute at least USD 30 in order to obtain a latrine, whereas the willingness to pay data imply that USD 10 is the maximum amount that most poor households are willing to spend on a latrine.

The Plan CLTS program promotes far cheaper and simpler facilities than the other programs, which should be more affordable and appropriate for poor households. However, 35 percent of households in its program communities continue to practice open defecation, and most of these open defecators are likely to be poor households.

The use of public finance to subsidize the development, promotion and marketing of appropriate sanitation products is to be encouraged, but there is a risk that the current sanitation marketing programs will not benefit many poor households. It is important that an appropriate amount of public finance is directed towards developing and marketing products and services that are specifically targeted at the poorest households and those that cannot afford the USD 30 sanitation core package.

Finally, few of the programs examined have been successful in achieving collective sanitation outcomes, such as open defecation free communities, which should be the ultimate aim of all sanitation programs (in order to achieve the optimal benefits). The population segment that practices open defecation in the program communities is largely made up of poor households, and generally includes those with the highest disease burdens, i.e. those that are most likely to transmit diseases to others through unsafe excreta disposal. As a result, the benefits achieved by these sanitation programs may be limited.

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