This Water and Development Technical Brief provides an overview of the important factors to consider in rural sanitation programming, including information on how to address governance, financing, markets, and behaviors for sanitation. It provides guidance for developing, implementing and monitoring rural sanitation activities based on recent evidence.
• Aim for area-wide geographic coverage. Go beyond the household and community levels to invest in area-wide (district or county) or market systems-level approaches to support impact and sustainability.
• Address governance, financing, markets, and behaviors. Successful sanitation programming must include interventions on governance, financing, markets, and behaviors and move away from an exclusive focus on direct service provision. The mix of approaches should be in direct response to the context.
• Targeted subsidies can be effective. Subsidy is not a dirty word. Targeted sanitation subsidies should be considered when seeking to reach the extreme poor and most vulnerable and can be successful when carefully combined with, or as a complement to, other approaches.
• Leave space for failure and learning. There are and will continue to be failures in rural sanitation programs, and there are not proven strategies/methods for all contexts (e.g., reaching the ultra poor). Plan for space and time and for staff to fail, iterate, assess progress, and adapt plans to ensure progress and sector-wide learning.