Re: "Pulling" away from Open Defecation via Aspirational Marketing

3633 views

Page selection:
  • denniskl
  • denniskl's Avatar
    Topic Author
  • Working on creating shared solutions for common problems
  • Posts: 84
  • Karma: 5
  • Likes received: 18

"Pulling" away from Open Defecation via Aspirational Marketing

I have been observing the forums on SuSana and other sites about the problems of OD and sanitation and toilets etc.

I have read the Compendium on Sanitation Systems and technologies, and I have done several online courses on sanitation and systems. I get the 8 systems, multiple technologies and I understand the CLTS process (or enough anyway).

Not an Expert

However, I will never be a Chris Canady, a Mughal or a Christoph (or even an Elisabeth:) because the dedication shown by these, and countless other people in this field, in solving the technical issues is staggering (ie designing systems, solving the technical problems, overcoming the challenges of helminth eggs and ecoli and other pathogen kill rates, etc etc etc)- but these areas are just not my field.

Where I think I can be of value to this community - and to the recipient BOP communities - is in re-thinking the problem, and proposing ways to solve the re-defined problem - because by defining the problem correctly, we get a clearer view of what the possible solutions may be.

The Real Problem of OD

It seems to me (and I am happy to be corrected by any and all:) that our real problem of OD (ie the elimination of OD as a practice) - and by "our" I mean us, the outsiders who don't OD and want to stop everybody else who does - is not the same as the target population (ie the OD'ers) view of OD.

We see the disease, the threat to young women, the health risks, the missing of education because no sanitation means young women don't go to school during their period etc - and all the other issues that OD causes - and the negative (and at times, life threatening) impacts those issues have on the OD'er population.

So naturally, we just want to stop the practice - "it's simple, here, have a toilet, you'll be better off"

I believe that the OD'er population, however, see these risks as "theoretical" or "could happen" threats - but not imminent risks (until they happen). And even then, they may not see the direct causal link between OD and a sick child or OD and a rape of young women or lack of sanitation and missing education.

The acquiring of an OD "alternative" is certainly not "top of mind" priority for the OD population - and not because they cannot afford alternatives or because they don't know about the options (or the other "usual" excuses for large scale OD as a standard community sanitation method and practice).

Because all of these issues can be, have been, and are continuing to be, managed by Governments, NGO's, etc around the world.

A never ending stream of Awareness programmes, hygiene talks, tippy tap demonstrations, toilet system pilots, washing hand campaigns, school based knowledge programmes, micro finance arrangements, self-help groups, community leader exhortations, etc etc etc - the list goes on and on

So why the problem remains?

So why do we still struggle with this after so long - and after so much money?

Basically (and simply) the problem is that we care more than they do (and it doesn't matter whether we care because of altruism, or profits or it's our job or for whatever reason) - and so we "push" solutions onto people, for their own good; just like the olden days missionaries "pushed' religion on the heathens - and we should all know how well that went in many parts of the world

I believe that the real problem we face is how do we simply "flip" that "level of care" equation around - and have the OD'ers (the people and their communities) "want" the solutions that are already available - resulting in demand or "pull" marketing from the OD'er population, instead of "push" marketing

And how do we do that?

We do this the same way the successful corporates sell their phones, their motorbikes, their beer, their cosmetics, their handbags and their clothing; we have to build an aspirational "dream" that people see, smell, taste - and want

(and we co-opt the same corporates under their CSR programmes to fund the "aspirational lifestyle choices" promotional programme:)

Of course, we have to make sure the "lifestyle delivery systems" - the toilet products and systems (ie the tech), the distribution, the servicing, the 'after-market", the financing and the whole package lives up to what we promised.

And develop profitable, market-based service-provision business models to ensure that capitalism and self-interest continue to sustain the growth of the aspirational market after the initial promotional programme is over

How to do this?

We believe that the solutions needed for the BOP are off-grid solutions - for toilets / sanitation, for water supply, for energy, for waste management, for health, for education, for food security, for income generation.

Wherever possible, the BOP solutions need to be at least "grid-out" sustainable, which means that if the "grid system" fails (such as broken pipes in sewerage systems, mains power blackout, mains water pollution, etc) then the household systems can continue to function effectively and keep the family safe.

So we feel that the core of the aspirational model is to make going "Off Grid" the lifestyle of choice (even in remote locations where being off-grid is the ONLY choice:)

Imagine if you are a poor villager in Laos or Cambodia or Ghana and you glimpse (via your smartphone ads or text message ads or TV ads or whatever) a lifestyle of Western luxury - toilets, lights, power, on-tap drinking water in your own home - all the things you have heard about - but never imagined you could have.

What if this message said "there is a way" to have this lifestyle, right where you are?

What if you could make a decision today that would start you on the road to that unimagined luxury?

Would you reply to the message? Call? Try to see how you could join this select group?

Well, billions of people already have shown that they will, by buying products and services that seem to be beyond their means, because it is amazing what resources people will find when they have a dream.

Look at the tens of '000's of $$$ that ultra-poor families find (somehow) to pay for people smugglers to get one family member to a better place, so they can help everybody left back home

Why do they? How can they?

Because they want to; and they find a way

We need to translate that level of want and desire into wanting and desiring the solutions that will solve the current day to day problems of the BOP in areas like OD and sanitation.

What's Next?

We are working on models and programmes to match the requirements above.

From an Aspirational "Off-Grid Living" brand, which will encompass a full range of life enhancing products (toilet systems, off grid energy systems, food production systems, water quality systems, communication and education programmes, financial inclusion and credit facilities, agri-systems and more) to the "Off-Grid Living" promotional programmes, with local and international celebrity endorsement of the brand "promise"

Sanitation is a core part of this "promise" because lack of effective sanitation causes so many other problems

We need to work with a large range of orgs, from product technologies, manufacturers, vendors, NGO's, agencies, governments, point-of-sale community retailers, corporates, and more - we aren't "makers", we are "solution-integrators" who put the various pieces together.

As sanitation / toilet solution providers (or any other related field) and you want to be part of this next phase in solving the world's BOP problems (and not just in OD but all of the lifestyle issue areas mentioned), please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will share the current stage thinking with you
Creator of the RealChange Global Impact Fund and MCM GREENMAN GROUP

Solving housing quality , power reliability, water supply and sanitation management in developing countries with private sector impact investors money

Philosophy

* See a problem.
* Make sure it's the real problem (by talking to the people with the problem).
* Find people who are solving this problem somewhere in the world and collaborate - and learn from them to solve the problem
OR
* Create a new solution where none exists
* Find passionate people who care about the problem to help implement solutions

Our solution approach - what's yours?

Dennis McMahon
From Australia; based in Malaysia
www.mcmgreenmangroup.com (R & D and project implementation)

www.RealChangeImpact.com

Funding from the private sector, giving market level returns
The following user(s) like this post: Elisabeth
You need to login to reply
  • denniskl
  • denniskl's Avatar
    Topic Author
  • Working on creating shared solutions for common problems
  • Posts: 84
  • Karma: 5
  • Likes received: 18

Re: "Pulling" away from Open Defecation via Aspirational Marketing

... and my apologies to Elisabeth for the "or even an Elisabeth" comment; that was very clumsily put and certainly does not reflect the respect I have for your experience, Elisabeth.

That should have read "I will never be ..... (and especially an Elisabeth!)"

Thank you Chris C for pointing out my badly phrased comment
Creator of the RealChange Global Impact Fund and MCM GREENMAN GROUP

Solving housing quality , power reliability, water supply and sanitation management in developing countries with private sector impact investors money

Philosophy

* See a problem.
* Make sure it's the real problem (by talking to the people with the problem).
* Find people who are solving this problem somewhere in the world and collaborate - and learn from them to solve the problem
OR
* Create a new solution where none exists
* Find passionate people who care about the problem to help implement solutions

Our solution approach - what's yours?

Dennis McMahon
From Australia; based in Malaysia
www.mcmgreenmangroup.com (R & D and project implementation)

www.RealChangeImpact.com

Funding from the private sector, giving market level returns
The following user(s) like this post: Elisabeth
You need to login to reply
  • canaday
  • canaday's Avatar
  • A biologist working toward sustainability
  • Posts: 391
  • Karma: 18
  • Likes received: 167

Re: "Pulling" away from Open Defecation via Aspirational Marketing

Hi Dennis,

These are great ideas.

Let's remember my recent comment that I think that many open defecators prefer to be outside for fresher air and (maybe not realizing it or putting it in these terms) the washing of the ground by the rain and the sterilization of its surface via solar ultraviolet light, thus it could be a good idea to offer them a more economical privacy structure with no roof. In fact, the privacy wall could be a hedge of plants, which would give enough privacy for it to be safely and conveniently right next to people's homes. (The fecal drop hole could have a lid to keep the rain out.) I recently found some unusual evidence that users might be especially happy in a room without a roof ;) :


Good luck and count on me.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday
Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com
You need to login to reply
Page selection:
Share this thread:
Recently active users. Who else has been active?
Time to create page: 0.232 seconds