Category Archives: Economic Benefits

USAID Sanitation Webinar

USAID Sanitation Webinar, April 28, 2015

More than 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation worldwide. In this webinar, USAID’s Jesse Shapiro discusses and responds to participant questions about the impacts of sanitation; critical challenges to improving sanitation; the sanitation ladder and service chain; and programmatic interventions to improve sanitation.

May 11, 2015 – Sustainability and Value for Money – Using Data to Improve the Performance of WASH Investments

Invitation to attend the Sustainability and Value for Money – Using Data to Improve the Performance of WASH Investments

  • Where: Manson Lecture Theatre, LSHTM, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT.
  • When: 5:30 – 8:30 PM on 11th of May 2015, including a drinks reception

The VFM-WASH consortium is delighted to invite you to attend an international seminar on WASH programmes’ sustainability and Value for Money (VFM). The DFID-funded consortium is led by Oxford Policy Management and includes the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Leeds, Oxfam and Trémolet Consultingshare

This event, co-convened by the SHARE Research Consortium, will present evidence collected by the consortium over the past two years on the sustainability and VFM of DFID WASH sector investments in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan and Zambia. It will also present the findings from surveys of the operational sustainability of WASH services carried out in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

These findings provide case studies of how VFM analysis can be used to feed into the strengthening of programme management systems.

Encouraging sanitation investment in the developing world: A cluster-randomized trial

Encouraging sanitation investment in the developing world: A cluster-randomized trial. Science, April 2015, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa0491

Authors:  Raymond Guiteras1, James Levinsohn2, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak2,*
+ Author Affiliations
1Deptartment of Economics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.

2School of Management, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
↵*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Poor sanitation contributes to morbidity and mortality in the developing world, but there is disagreement on what policies can increase sanitation coverage. To measure the effects of alternative policies on investment in hygienic latrines, we assigned 380 communities in rural Bangladesh to different marketing treatments—community motivation and information; subsidies; a supply-side market access intervention; and a control—in a cluster-randomized trial.

Community motivation alone did not increase hygienic latrine ownership (+1.6 percentage points, p=0.43), nor did the supply-side intervention (+0.3 percentage points, p=.90). Subsidies to the majority of the landless poor increased ownership among subsidized households (+22.0 percentage points, p<.001) and their unsubsidized neighbors (+8.5 percentage points, p=.001), which suggests investment decisions are interlinked across neighbors. Subsidies also reduced open defecation by 14 percentage points (p<.001).

Trémolet Consulting – Toilets on Credit, 2015 (video)

Published on Feb 3, 2015

Can microfinance help increase access to sanitation? Today, 2.5 billion people do not use proper sanitation facilities. Essential services for maintaining latrines and treating faecal sludge are also underdeveloped. In many places, toilets can cost up to one year of income for poor households. Private operators of sanitation services do not have enough capital to acquire more equipment and respond to growing demand.

Since 2010, Trémolet Consulting and research partners based in Kenya MicroSave have been exploring the potential of microfinance for helping sanitation markets to develop. The research, funded by SHARE/DFID, culminated with an action-research in Tanzania in which financial institutions were trained to provide financial services for sanitation. This film explains why microfinance should be explored further, and potentially, included in sanitation programmes.

The film also presents what has been done in Tanzania under the action-research and takes the views of households, sanitation entrepreneurs, microfinance institutions and researchers.


WaterSHED – Rural Consumer Sanitation Adoption Study in Cambodia

Rural Consumer Sanitation Adoption Study: An Analyis of Rural Consumers in the Emerging Sanitation Market in Cambodia, 2014.

WaterSHED has published the findings from its comprehensive review of rural consumer sanitation adoption in Cambodia. The study evaluates WaterSHED’s Hands-Off sanitation marketing program, which was designed to catalyze the market for improved sanitation in rural Cambodia by stimulating household demand and improving the supply of affordable sanitation options for rural households. watershed-1

The study confirms that the WaterSHED program has resulted in a substantial acceleration in improved latrine coverage and usage in the study areas. Household consumers are now able to access an improved latrine more easily and more cheaply than before.

New distribution and sales mechanisms are increasing household awareness of and exposure to more affordable latrine products and increasing motivation to invest in an improved latrine.

Enterprises are demonstrating that they serve at least some segments of the previously unserved rural market.

Nonetheless, significant challenges still remain. The study reveals a number of opportunities to break down remaining barriers to uptake of improved latrines and to further evolve WaterSHED’s market-based approach.

Guy Hutton – Why Choosing the Preferred Sanitation Solution Should Be More Like Grocery Shopping

Guy Hutton – Why Choosing the Preferred Sanitation Solution Should Be More Like Grocery Shopping hutton

When we go to the supermarket, our decision-making is considerably aided by having the price, ingredients and source of goods clearly labeled. This allows us to rapidly compare the characteristics, perceived benefits, and price of different products to make what is usually an informed and instantaneous purchase decision.

When it comes to making investment choices for public programs, we do not traditionally have the same luxury of information. The full benefits and costs of those interventions, including the long-term costs to maintain and operate a service, are rarely understood or taken into account in the decision. As a result, public decisions are usually made based on the most visible costs (capital investment required from the public budget), historical choices and the political process.

To reduce the detrimental effects of these influences, we need to move public sector decision making more towards the supermarket model, and increase the availability of key information so that decisions can be more rational, consistent, and transparent.

Since 2007, the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), part of the World Bank’s Water Global Practice, has been attempting to put a price on sanitation by essentially understanding two sides of the same coin: what the costs of current inaction on sanitation are (i.e. how much poor sanitation costs households and the wider economy) and how much acting will cost (i.e. increasing access to sanitation services).

When it comes to acting, we need to understand the alternatives. What technology option best suits the preferences and local practices, available land, population density, disposable income, and willingness to pay of different population groups? What are the benefits of different technology options? And who is able to pay for the costs of behavior change, capital investment and sustained service delivery?

Read the complete post on the World Bank Water Blog, Jan 2015.

You can a join an ongoing discussion on this blog on the SuSanA Forum.

WSP – Economic Assessment of Sanitation Interventions in Southeast Asia: A Six Country Study Conducted in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, Vietnam and Yunnan Province (China)

Economic Assessment of Sanitation Interventions in Southeast Asia:  A Six Country Study Conducted in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, Vietnam and Yunnan Province (China) under the Economics of Sanitation Initiative, 2015. Water and Sanitation Program.

Excerpts: The present study has presented evidence on the costs and benefits of sanitation improvements in different programmatic and geographical contexts in Southeast Asia. This evidence enables explicit comparison of sanitation options on the basis of their relative merits and thus informs both public and private decisions on sanitation investment.

The high socioeconomic returns of sanitation investment indicate that it should be promoted as a central development priority. The economic evidence generated in this study has demonstrated the importance of improved sanitation for a number of development outcomes, including public health, the natural environment, education, economic development, social outcomes, gender equality, and poverty alleviation. Improved evidence on the costs of sanitation and those potentially willing to pay for it, gives an evidence base for sanitation planners and providers on which to estimate the market size for sanitation goods and services.