CSOs and market-based sanitation approaches
Bronwyn Powell on 13/04/2016 10:26 EST
eDiscussion: CSOs and market-based sanitation approaches
How can Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) work effectively to support sanitation markets, products and services? How can they at the same time ensure pro-poor targeting and affordability?
The Civil Society WASH Fund presented an e-discussion led by Associate Professor Juliet Willetts during April and May 2016. The e-discussion explored the roles that CSOs are playing in facilitating sanitation markets, access to financing and the roles of both the private and public sectors. This e-discussion formed part of the lead-up to the Fund’s East Asia Regional Learning Event, the theme of which is bridging private and public spheres for improved sanitation.
Read the e-discussion summary here.
Sanitation coverage lags behind water coverage in East Asia, and this is particularly true for the poor, the vast majority of whom suffer a lack of hygienic sanitation. In Vietnam, whilst total sanitation coverage is 78%, this is made up of 94% urban and 70% rural coverage, highlighting inequity in access between urban and poorer rural communities (WHO/UNICEF 2015). Market-based approaches to sanitation are increasingly seen as important in achieving the goal of 100% hygienic sanitation in East Asia.
Background: Civil society organisations (CSOs) globally have started working in various ways to support the supply of sanitation products, services and supply-chains. This came from a recognition that raising demand alone may not be sufficient to facilitate access to hygienic latrines, and that often appropriate, affordable, durable latrine options were not readily available, particularly in rural communities. In addition, marketing of sanitation products can be another strategy for facilitating behaviour change and uptake of hygienic practices.
Another driver for a CSO focus on enterprises comes from recognition that project cycles are limited and there is a need to sustain impact beyond project timeframes. As discussed in the Southern Africa Regional Learning Event, this can achieved through working with local government actors. It can also be achieved through working in ways that facilitate local enterprises to take up viable business propositions and offer services for which there is customer demand.
In simple terms, taking a ‘market-based approach’ to sanitation is about working to facilitate the role of private sector actors (or also potentially social enterprises) for the exchange of sanitation products and services. Taking such an approach typically involves strategies to support enterprises and entrepreneurs - which can range from training masons to improving sales information systems. It can involve product design, financing mechanisms for enterprises or customers, conducting market assessments, supply chain analyses or engaging with local governments or associations to support entrepreneurs. It can also involve shifting from thinking about community members as ‘beneficiaries’ to thinking about them as ‘customers’. Sanitation marketing is a commonly used approach.
Objective: This objective of this e-discussion is for CSOs and others to share their experiences of market-based approaches to sanitation. More widely, it aims to identify different kinds of CSO practice, how and why certain approaches are chosen and what is successful or challenging in the field. We will also cover CSO how CSOs also target the poor and related financing mechanisms (eg. loans, targeted subsidies, micro-credit, rotating funds etc.), and lastly, how CSO are, or could, also engage with the public sector in this work.
Topic Expert A/Prof Juliet Willetts will facilitate this e-discussion. Dr Willetts leads applied research, consultancy and evaluation to inform water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) policy and practice in Asia-Pacific. She is Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at University of Technology Sydney (ISF-UTS). Juliet has led four major research grants, undertaken more than 50 projects and has been recognised by several research excellence and leadership awards. She is a founding member of the Australian WASH Reference group. Her contributions cover a wide range of areas including civil society roles, institutional, governance and policy settings, role of enterprises and entrepreneurship, gender equality, and monitoring and evaluation. Her contribution to this e-discussion and the East Asia Regional Learning Event will draw on her leadership of the ‘Enterprise in WASH’ (www.enterpriseinwash.info) research initiative.
Thread 1: CSO roles (Week 1: 18-24 April 2016)
What is your approach to support the availability of sanitation products, services and supply chains?
Your response or reflections on this question could include aspects related to: types of activities you undertake in relation to sanitation products, services and supply-chains and why you choose these activities; aspects of sanitation marketing that you use; forms of support for enterprises and entrepreneurs; which partners or stakeholders you work closely with and why you choose these; how you combine efforts to raise demand with efforts to facilitate supply; how you monitor and evaluate this type of work; what you see as important roles for CSOs in facilitating a market-based approach.
The e-discussion was run over 3 weeks from 18 April - 8 May 2016. Read the e-discussion summary here.