Tag Archives: WaterSHED

Funky Sink Gets Kids In Cambodia To Wash Up, Could Save Thousands Of Young Lives

Funky Sink Gets Kids In Cambodia To Wash Up, Could Save Thousands Of Young Lives | Source: Huffington Post, July 8 2015 |

Cambodia has the lowest access to sanitation in all of Southeast Asia, and as a result more than 10,000 children die every year due to diarrheal diseases, according to WaterAid. watershed

To help curb those figures, nonprofit WaterSHED recently released the LaBobo, a portable and inexpensive sink whose colorful design encourages kids to improve their hygiene habits.

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WaterAid – How to sell toilets: a new approach to sanitation marketing in South East Asia

WaterAid – How to sell toilets: a new approach to sanitation marketing in South East Asia | Source: WaterAid Blog, April 22, 2015.

In Cambodia, an organisation named WaterSHED has developed a successful approach to marketing sanitation to remote communities which has reached 40% of Cambodians and is spreading fast across the Mekong region.

Excerpts: Established in 2010, WaterSHED – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Enterprise Development – is a business development services provider working to bring effective and affordable water and sanitation products to the market, focusing on Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Only 28% of people in Cambodia are estimated to have access to sanitation – less in rural areas – and communities and businesses are not always interested in improving this or able to make change happen.

Local supplier with samples of toilet components. Photo: WaterAid/ Erik Harvey.

Local supplier with samples of toilet components. Photo: WaterAid/ Erik Harvey.

Although several organisations in the country were working on sanitation when WaterSHED was established, there was little coherence in their approaches, which Geoff Revell, Regional Programme Manager for WaterSHED, found frustrating. “While on one hand, there is space to try out new things, on the other, there are various approaches, some of which are subsidy driven, that are not very effective.”

A ‘hands-off’ approach

WaterSHED takes a ‘hands-off’ approach, using community leaders to generate demand for sanitation, working with the supply chain to offer appropriate and affordable products and identifying incentives to increase take-up. The organisation encourages businesses to consider adopting sanitation-related products that would complement other aspects of their wider business and thus enable them to diversify. It believes its role as a ‘market facilitator’ is finite, and that exit strategies need to be in place to enable private and public sector players to take over.

The sanitation marketing approach has six key components:

  • Identify community leaders to make the pitch for sanitation.
    Generate demand for toilets using a combination of pride and disgust messages.
  • Link communities to supply chains and vice versa, focusing on home delivery, affordability and promotional models.
  • Enable suppliers to be reliable and trustworthy, offering good-quality products, information and advice.
  • Make links to micro-financing where appropriate.
  • Help identify appropriate and adaptable incentives.

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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.

Market solutions to Cambodia’s toilet troubles

Sanitation marketing in Cambodia.

Sanitation marketing in Cambodia. Photo: WaterSHED

At the current rate of 1.3% increase in latrine coverage per year it will take Cambodia 60 years to become Open Defecation Free (ODF).  Using market-based approaches, the WaterSHED programme has manged to achieve a 7% annual increase in coverage in the districts where it is active, according to IRIN.

WaterSHED has helped to bring down the price of toilets from between US$ 250 and US$ 400 to a much more affordable US$ 45. This has resulted in the sale of 75,000 toilets in 59 of Cambodia’s 171 districts over the past four years.

Rath Chan Thin, a toilet salesperson in Kompong Chhnang province said in the past she would sell no more than 25 toilets a year.

“Now people buy the toilets. In the last year, I have sold 650 toilets,” she said, pointing to her dip in price and community sales events that bring suppliers and local residents together for toilet product demonstrations.

WaterSHED regional program manager Geoff Revell says that fair prices and access to credit in combination with targeted subsidies for the very poor, is the way forward to scale-up toilet construction.

But what happens when the toilet pits are full? The WaterSHED programme does not appear to deal the full sanitation chain. Developing market-based approaches for faecal sludge management services in Cambodia and Viet Nam, where WaterSHED is also active, would seem a logical next step.

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Source: Market solutions to Cambodia’s toilet troubles, IRIN, 5 Jun 2014

WaterSHED – Microfinance boosts latrine purchases in rural Cambodia

Microfinance boosts latrine purchases in rural Cambodia | Source: WaterSHED, Sept 27, 2013 |

An innovative way to integrate micro-finance and sanitation marketing is resulting in a truly Hands-Off success story and helping to scale up access to safe toilets by the rural poor. watershed

Many proponents of market-based sanitation programs around the world are keen to explore financing as a way to make toilets more accessible to the rural poor. The most repeated complaint by rural villagers when discussing toilet adoption in Cambodia, like elsewhere, is aut louy or “no money”.

Cost is also one of the major roadblocks in offering sanitation financing: loan assessment, disbursement, and payment collections are expensive activities. Because loans for toilets are relatively small, the interest (even at high rates) is not likely to offset the operating costs of the micro-finance institution (MFI). Furthermore, MFIs typically prefer to offer ‘productive’ loans as a opposed to ‘consumptive’ ones because of their lower risk of delinquency or default (a loan to buy a sewing machine for a small business that will generate revenue to make payments as opposed to a loan to repair the roof of a house). Loans to purchase toilets and water filters are considered consumptive.

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WASH for Life grants for the HappyTap and six other innovations

WaterSHED’s Vietnamese HappyTap. Photo: WaterSHED

The HappyTap, a low-cost handwashing device for the Vietnamese market, is one of seven innovations to receive a grant from the WASH for Life Partnership. This US$ 17 million initiative is co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV).

In 2010, with USAID support, the WaterSHED program teamed with the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) to develop and market a new handwashing device. The design came from IDEO.org, which itself has received a WASH for Life grant for Clean Kumasi, an digitally-supported approach to Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). Together with Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), IDEO.org is working to combat open defecation in Kumasi, Ghana using mobile phones and open-source mapping.

Examples of signs  posted to prompt residents to flash Clean Kumasi. Photo: IDEO.org

Examples of signs posted to prompt residents to flash Clean Kumasi. Photo: IDEO.org

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Jay Graham – Selling toilets in Cambodia: WaterSHED style