WSP – Financing Household On-Site Sanitation for the Poor

Financing Household On-Site Sanitation for the Poor, 2011. Water and Sanitation Program

Link to full-text

Key Lessons

Public funding can trigger significantly increased access to household sanitation. Public investments of varying forms enabled an absolute increase in the fraction of the target population gaining access to sanitation, which varied between 20 and 70 percent. Each of the programs enabled significant numbers of people to improve their sanitation—from the largest (more than 21 million gained access in Maharashtra) to the smallest (more than 140,000 in Ecuador). Although sanitation projects have earned a reputation as difficult and often ineffective, there is compelling evidence that government investment can yield results.

The different financing strategies adopted had a profound influence on equity, scale, sustainability, levels of service, and costs. No project represented a “silver bullet” approach that can be replicated globally: different models will be more appropriate based on specific project objectives. One indicator of the effectiveness of public finance use is the number of households gaining basic access per US$1,000 of public funding. Like most indicators, this ration cannot tell the whole story by itself because both the levels of service offered and the costs varied between projects. Nevertheless, it is revealing that in rural Bangladesh, US$1,000 of public investments resulted in improved sanitation for 135 households, while in Senegal the same public funding only served 1.6 households with improved sanitation.

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