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This blog is to articulate the interesting Catholic Relief Services (CRS) marketing training facilitated by the International Water and Sanitation Centre for senior WASH staff from CRS this past week. The overall aim for this training was for a number of selected CRS colleagues to be able to understand and use best practices in designing and delivering a sanitation marketing strategy adapted to local market conditions.
This workshop comes at the most timely point when we continue to reflect on how to create sustainable sanitation around the “everyone forever vision”. Arguably sanitation business development has been hindered by impressions of low business viability and potential in poorer areas, and that it is immoral to ‘make profit from basic services for the poor’. Yet, as we have seen in the field, sanitation marketing provides an outlet in which the balance(!) of the demand to supply equilibrium can be found. The question however remains, as we have discussed in the training and seen in the field, the timing of these developments. When does CLTS stop and sanitation market start? Most logically once post-triggering has taken place, social marketing should be in place. Inevitably this is very context specific but the two, namely the demand for facilities and the supply of these should ideally be well timed as both are required to create a potentially sustainable sanitation delivery approach that can last over time.
CRS, as one of the leading NGOs in the development sector, is playing a strong role in bringing this important discussion to the table by training its staff to focus on sanitation marketing within their programmes in Africa (namely in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, Djibouti and Tanzania). Other NGOs such as Plan are also taking on this role. It would be great to hear from any others whom are undertaking these types of trainings as this inevitably is one important element around the broader debate on creating sustainable sanitation that last. What other experiences and more importantly findings from the field are coming out??