FINISH – Can we do business in a Subsidy driven environment in India (Sarphati Sanitation Awards 2015 Nominee)


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Re: Sarphati Sanitation Awards 2015 Nominee: FINISH – Can we do business in a Subsidy driven environment in India

Hi Katrin.

Thanks for your elaborate assesement and analysis.

Yes FINISH do not distribute loans directly but helps MFI's in developing loan products as it is vital for catering certain segments of customers which can not put up money for toilets upfront.

In India with since inception of subsidy and now incentive regime there always been a condition where subsequent amounts considered as Cost and estimate of Toilet.since toilet subsidy has always remained back end(Assets needs to be in place before qualification for entitlement) previous attempts on purely construction approaches resulted in non usable toilets, unsafe sanitation systems,contrary community based approaches wherever experimented failed to answer the issue -

1. qualification of one section of society for subsidy vis a vis others creation of comparative discord within in absence of ignorance of same by practitioners.

2. Acceptance of technology by community- Leache pits generally are looked at suspicion by Indian beneficiaries .

Generally to fulfill the targets Institutions have started the construction either not create demand at all or creating it without balancing out creating rift within section attracting possible backlash.

these conditions made business angle more challenging as there is no entry point for entrepreneur where he can not operate with govt.( limited scope for engagement officially) and she/ he wants to sell directly Govt. institution own plans will come in his way of sales approach.

FINISH tries and balance this out by taking need of toilets created through Experts communicators to next level by-

1. Presenting options of toilets( Need to Demand)

2. Solving Puzzle between Perceived Cost of Toilet and Optimum Cost of toilet.

3. Developing Possible Budget range of typical toilets which they can like to have.

4. presenting models of toilet( developed out of market research in similar situations)( Demand to Want)

5. Linking /Sharing information with Partners/Vendors who eventually goes ahead and closes the sales.

This scheme of things also ensures helps in regards to securing incentive amount if available for the particular beneficiary,helping out with paper work, and followup with govt. institution to get it released on time.

Beneficiary also has option to pledge the would be incentive amount in name of vendor to just pay the balance amount and get the toilet built.

FINISH at present being funded by DGIS through WASTE for a Project direct costs are being covered by Business models Project money is being utilized to cover indirect expenses for expansion and scale.
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Re: Sarphati Sanitation Awards 2015 Nominee: FINISH – Can we do business in a Subsidy driven environment in India

Thanks Sarah ,

For Sharing your observations, indeed sustenance is a challenge and we in FINISH also grappled with same initially. in an environment like Indian rural sanitation approaches were made earlier about sanitation awareness and creation of need for same.

we have gone a bit further by using community mobilization aspects getting converts to demand and want . to elaborate Sanitation is Community level issues and emphasis laid upon realization of need at community level ( selflessness- however open defecation is comfortable for an individual) which often results in lack of self interest at later stage resulting in non usage and going back to original behavior.

in our journey from need to demand and want emphasis laid upon balancing ( Selflessness to Self interest) by involving stakeholders which has business to do with community, who can continue followup , engagements even after creation of asset. by linking incentives to masons which we used as motivators in our communication thereby using window of almost 24 hours of communication with beneficiary while constructing the toilets.solving queries which are unanswered during formal public platforms, secondly pushing him to take up other related ideas of Solid and liquid waste management thereby keep presence for atleast 8 to 12 months thereby utilizing these windows for ensuring less slippage.
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  • Katrin
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Re: Sarphati Sanitation Awards 2015 Nominee: FINISH – Can we do business in a Subsidy driven environment in India


Thank you for providing us with an overview of your work! I think it is important that you stress that sanitation requires a multi-level intervention: it is about knowledge dissemination, raising awareness, demand creation and of course an adequate supply. That FINISH addresses all of these areas is quite impressive!

Reading your presentation, the following questions came up for me:

You write that the sanitation industry does not have a market due to various policy & administrative issues and it is complex because of the involvement of numerous stakeholders. Can you elaborate on this a little bit? What is hindering market development in particular and in how far are the different stakeholders working against each other? How would you describe the relationship between the private sanitation industry and the government’s efforts to end open defecation in India?

Also, can you elaborate a little more on your supply chain business model? You write that it is scalable and can also exist in non-market conditions. Can you describe the process of scaling up your model, as this seems to be the challenge for a lot of other initiatives which might benefit from your experience.

In one of the graphs you provided, you summarize your approach with the following key words: creating awareness, demand generation, supply chain management, usage sustainability, economic incentives, financial inclusion. Can you tell us a little bit more or provide an example of what is behind these key words. What would be an example of demand creation, for instance? What economic incentives do you provide? (unfortunately, I can’t read the fine print in the “Business 3D Model” you provided on photobucket).

Finally, as the scope of your work is very broad (which I'm sure accounts for your success as – as you state – an integrative, holistic approach is needed), I was wondering whether you provide different kinds of interventions in the different areas or whether you rather focus on a limited amount of “tools” to achieve your goal. Let me explain what I mean by this: You write that you support field level organisations, cooperatives, and micro finance institutions in the form of capacity building, training, and financial assistance. If I understand correctly, your role is a coordinating one if you will. You might train organisations that focus on behavioral change programs, but you wouldn’t provide seminars on hygiene educations to rural communities yourself. Similarly, you would provide financial assistance to microfinance institutions providing sanitation loans but you are not providing sanitation loans yourself? Have I understood your work correctly?

Finally, I was wondering about funding of FINISH.

Thank your for taking the time to present your work here. In different discussions on the Forum we have had users who stressed how important a holistic approach to sanitation is. FINISH tries to put this belief into practice, which I think is great. Congratulations on your nomination and good luck next week!

Kind regards,
Dr. Katrin Dauenhauer
SuSanA Thematic Discussion Series Coordinator
Bonn, Germany

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Re: Sarphati Sanitation Awards 2015 Nominee: FINISH – Can we do business in a Subsidy driven environment in India


Congratulations on your nomination and thank you for the detailed description of your work, your story is very inspiring. I have a few questions to learn more about the work you are doing:

Your approach seems takes a holistic approach across a number of areas, including ‘linking demand generation with effective supply chain, capacity building, facilitating access to finance.’ Of these areas where you are involved, what would you say is the hardest aspect you deal with?

You mention you are working to build awareness so that ‘the change achieved thereafter is not temporary,’ and I am wondering how you make sure that changes are long-term (especially while focusing on scaling-up). Sustaining change seems to a common challenge for many approaches so I’m sure you could share lessons of interest to others.

Thanks in advance,
Dr. Sarah Dickin,
Research Fellow
Stockholm Environment Institute
Stockholm, Sweden
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FINISH – Can we do business in a Subsidy driven environment in India (Sarphati Sanitation Awards 2015 Nominee)

FINISH Society
Small Change for Dignity

Sanitation in India- Challenges & Opportunity

India has the largest numbers of Open Defecators (Estimated- 600 million) in the world Sanitation is one of the strongest factors in enabling improved public health, controlling child mortality, ensuring environmental safety and improving productivity of the masses. According to an estimate the cost of poor sanitation in India accounts for 6.4 % of its GDP. The situation is even worse in rural India where around 74% people still defecate in the open. But the number of households needing a toilet is very huge and India being the second most populated country in the world makes it even more challenging. And it also proposes immense opportunity for the market makers to make a dent!

Sanitation is more of a public issue than of an individual’s issue with social and administrative challenges also included. However Indian Sanitation Market is a classic riddle. It has been treated by the state in a supply driven- top down approach since the first sanitation campaign was launched. To begin with sanitation industry in India does not have characteristics of a market due to various policy & administrative issues and complexity due to involvement of multi-stakeholders. In some cases over involvement and in some cases lack of involvement by the public sector makes the whole situation precariously poised. Construction of toilets without proper knowledge dissemination and awareness generation makes it non usable and only demand Generation without providing adaptable solution rules out future communication. Any sustainable intervention has to pass through all the criterions of fitments before being able to make inroads and bring a visible change.

There is a lot to be done before achieving 100 percent sanitation density in terms of creating awareness for safe sanitation, generate demand and promote sustainable supply chain solutions which are demand driven, cost effective and need based, which opens up plethora of opportunities for market makers.

About FINISH Society

FINISH- Financial Inclusion Improves Sanitation and Health – is a Not for Profit organization Started in 2009 with an aim to promote sustainable and equitable development of the sanitation sector in India with an integrated approach thereby, improving lives of poor rural and peri-urban households.

Our mission is to bring a visible Change in the sanitary, hygiene and health standard.
The initiative was taken a team having corporate sectors background who left their rewarding carrier to make an impact and to address the obvious problem. In the beginning the focus was on mobilizing the community to adapt safe Sanitation practices but it was soon realized that merely creating awareness and demand will not accelerate the sanitation coverage system and increase usage. While creating awareness with community we came across many challenges ranging from safe sanitation design, technology acceptance, access to finance, ease of maintenance, requirement of water, cost of Construction and time & quality of construction etc.

More solutions were required which pushed us towards finding answers and we ended up making supply chain business models which is scalable, acceptable and above all can survive in non existing market conditions as well. FINISH accordingly designed our strategy and linked demand generation with effective supply chain, capacity building, facilitating access to finance and thus as a result addition in safe sanitation systems.

FINISH Approach:

To counter the challenges our approach is integrated, where behaviour change is combined with improved access to sanitation, hygiene & waste management systems through increased awareness, supply chain interventions and financial inclusion with an aim to improve quality of life. And as these are multistakeholder subjects, a comprehensive strategy with involvement of all concerned players for the overall development is adopted. The important facets of our strategy are, bottom up –demand driven approach, cost effective solutions, choice based sanitation models, financial incentives etc.

FINISH Strategy is to involve and encourage everyone to participate in improving quality of millions of life by providing access to safe sanitation, hygiene and a better environment. We are committed to make a difference by integrating sanitation improvement with financial inclusion, waste management health incentives with a holistic approach.

Making A Difference

Sustainable Sanitation linked to community well being. FINISH aims at creating awareness among the people on the importance of sanitation so that the change achieved thereafter is not temporary. Therefore, taking a different approach to sanitation, FINISH drives demand and motivation towards achieving 100 percent sanitation density thus making communities/villages Open Defecation Free.

Building Awareness & Behavioral Change. Rural sanitation policy and sanitation work in the states where open defecation is most concentrated has been more focused on latrine construction; however sanitation is not only about building toilets. FINISH understands this need and our programs emphasizes on mobilizing community, creating behavioural change and building awareness on linking benefits of safe sanitation practices to socio-economic progress.

Capacity Building & Creation of Asset. With innovative supply chain & business models, we have piloted initiatives in cost effective sanitation systems linked to waste management and economic use. FINISH supports field level voluntary organizations, cooperatives and micro finance institutions to promote safe sanitations systems in the form of capacity building, training and financial assistance. However the uniqueness of our support system is that it is driven by visible results.

Public Private Partnership. FINISH believes partnerships can bring together knowledge and experience for better delivery of services. We have been bringing various stakeholders with us for driving change together in sanitation, health and solid waste management. We have a strong network of 60 partners working with us from the interior most to peri urban slums in the country. We have also partnered with UNICEF, World Vision, Hindustan Zinc, CAIRN Energy, TATAs, Oxford University, Habitat for Humanity etc.

Challenges for Up scaling-
1.To attract talented artisans and masons from unorganized environment to work full time with organized setup dedicatedly.
2.Availability of working Capital.
3.To attract the partners, investors to work in an environment majorly influenced by govt. policies and interventions.
4.Hiring of good managers to work in rural space involving hardships.
5.To develop a pure business centric plan with help of experts. Without affecting social aspect- range of products covering all income levels of village not only few higher ones.
6.To work on technology front where production centers can be make portable, finding engagement plans for local volunteer so that usage and service delivery mechanism can be made more sustainable.
7.Attracting communication expert’s team to take care of growing demands, geographical expansions.
8.Developing a in house training and communication material development central team which keeps improvising upon tactics of communication.
9.Developing a partnership with Banks, FI’s to make loans, installments available for attractive rates and low documentations.

Impact at a Glance:

Our intervention has reached out to more than 8,000,000 people in 4,031 GPs/villages spread over 57 districts across 10 States in the different parts of India from the inception. With focus on behavioural change, facilitating finance and supply chain support demand for sanitation is generated and fulfilled. We have been steadily moving towards our target since inception and till Mar’2015 435,507 families got their own ‘safe sanitation systems’ as per their requirement. The amount of micro credit mobilized in this connection was of Rs. 3,936 million by convergence of various resources such as microfinance, Govt. subsidy, client contribution, CSR support etc.
[attachment:1]Sarphati Award - Susana Forum V3.txt[/attachment]
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