Raising demand for sanitation and hygiene services - Exploring private sector roles

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  • rezaip
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Re: Raising demand for sanitation and hygiene services - Exploring private sector roles

Very interesting discussion. Thanks for initiating this. Starting with sanitation marketing: there are two separate issues: marketing of sanitation products and marketing of sludge emptying and / or transportation services. The issues are related but are different from each other. Interestingly, in other sectors, we often see the horizontal and / or vertical integration of business but in sanitation it is rare. Sanitation hardware includes toilet-kits and installation which comes in all different, materials, shape, size and construction. In Bangladesh, what we have experienced is the rising product lines in sanitation made-up of concrete, plastic and even pottery (in order of higher to lower prices). There is still enough room for improved professional services particularly masonry work that primarily includes knowledge of construction code, design of sludge collection port, pricing of materials and developing packages for installation of different category. Toilet hardware sellers and installation service providers are usually not involved in emptying and transportation services which has a huge growth potential both in terms of business and job creation, given the necessary regulatory enforcement and support is in place. In an urban setting, the private sector alone cannot do much, rather the city authorities and private sector together should develop plan of action in efficiently managing and regulating this business.

Sanitation Financing and Microfinance: When we say sanitation financing, in rural context it necessarily means building a toilet with microfinance. The moderator rightly pointed to the fact that sanitation financing does not receive the priority to the users’ financing needs. Sanitation financing should be treated as an emergency situation financing, like in Bangladesh in many places, the interest rates for sanitation finance is often below the average market interest rates, occasionally subsidized by Government / autonomous agencies, as a response to the disaster / sanitation needs of the poor / just as a promotion of ecological toilet solutions with installation for bio-gas generation for domestic purpose.

Financing Low-income Urban Settlements: This is a tricky situation both in terms of urban development and sanitation marketing which offers great scope for research and innovation. Settlements often have community or shared toilets. Shared toilets are difficult to manage on a regular basis raising funds from the users when it needs to be emptied. Experience shows that the users, even though agreed on a management terms at the time of installation, often looks out to the external help or assistance. This makes it a case for market driven service provision where the users may deposit a monthly fee for regular maintenance or just to fund for emptying when it is needed. Group micro-finance may work well in this case. Settlements are also increasingly a test case for introducing DEWATS which again needs to be maintained periodically. And again monthly subscription fees look like a feasible solution to this problem.

On Hygiene: I also see a missing link between sanitation products / sludge emptying services and hygiene promotions. A recent sludge emptying demonstration in a southern Bangladeshi city showed that users do get convinced and show initial enthusiasm about the hygiene aspect of sludge emptying services through mechanical devices. Hygiene promotion (e.g. water seal and prevention of odour and pests, convenient sludge emptying mechanism) can also be a part of marketing campaign of different sanitation products.

Note: The views expressed above is of the contributor’s only and does not represent the view of any individuals, groups and institutions.
Reza Patwary
WaSH Business Advisor
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  • KenCaplan
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Re: SUMMARY Week 1: Raising demand for sanitation and hygiene services - Exploring private sector roles

Dear Colleagues -

Thanks for all the inputs across the two sites (WSSCC LinkedIn) and SuSanA during the first week's discussions on Raising demand for sanitation and hygiene services at the household level. Please find attached a rough summary that combines the two discussion threads - quite a rich discussion that covers a lot of different issues.

My thanks again to Lillian and Amaka in particular as well as to all contributors for sharing your views. (My apologies to Reza whose comprehensive and helpful views caught me after this was drafted and are thereby not captured in this summary. I will certainly be including them in the Week 2 summary and then the overarching summary document).

Your continued inputs and insights on this next sub-topic on the role of the private sector in meeting demand at the household level (link) are very much appreciated.

With regards -
Ken Caplan
Ken Caplan
Partnerships in Practice

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: SUMMARY Week 1: Raising demand for sanitation and hygiene services - Exploring private sector roles

Dear Ken,

Thanks for this summary, that's very useful.
I am not yet fully satisfied, however, with the answers I received to my questions raised here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/225-th...e-sector-roles#15711


About my thematic question as to the connection between behavior change and sanitation marketing, I am unfortunately still as clueless as before... Is my question perhaps so stupid that it's hard to answer it? Or have the experts or anyone else overlooked it? I copy the main part again here:

I wonder if sanitation marketing should go hand in hand with behavior change approaches. Perhaps if we get the behavior change right, then we don't need so much marketing anymore? E.g. if people change their behavior (or aspirations?) and change to preferring toilets in their house, then there is no more point in doing sanitation marketing for toilet types that can only be away from the house (i.e. pit latrines).

Are the approaches that lead to behavior change the same as those used in sanitation marketing? I think not.


I just have this vague feeling that we throw around these terms (like "sanitation marketing") without having a clear, joint understanding of what it means.

In this context, it might help to set up a little Wikipedia page on sanitation marketing which doesn't exist yet. We do have one on behaviour change ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavior_change_(public_health) ) but it's not that good yet. If anyone would like to work with me on improving this situation, just let me know.

Also, you asked me

Regarding the content, what aspects of the "creativity in behaviour change" workshop caught your attention that are particularly relevant to these discussions?

Nothing in particular, just the "creativity" aspect and learning from how others in the public health sector go about approaching this topic, e.g. when trying to achieve behavior change in the area of HIV/AIDS or to quit smoking or to eat a healthier diet. The conference organisers have done up a very good post-conference workshop page, see here: ehg.lshtm.ac.uk/2015/09/25/creativity-in-behaviour-change/

The word "marketing" appears only twice on this page with the conference summary; one of the two places is this presentation:
ehg.lshtm.ac.uk/files/2015/09/Tara-Macleod.pdf
(note: my browser said there's a problem with the security certificate of that website but another browser allowed me to open it).

Some information about this presentation:

Lastly we heard from Tara Macleod the Deputy Director of Strategy and Planning at Public Health England. She explained PHE’s unique marketing strategy which establishes umbrella brands throughout the life-course and then identifies stakeholders in the private and NGO sectors to align themselves with. Tara concluded that the strategy has enabled their work to become much more effective and recommended that it could be an example for other countries to follow.


Regards,
Elisabeth
Head moderator of this Discussion Forum
(with financial support by GIZ from July to November 2021)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Ulm, Germany
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Twitter: @EvMuench
Founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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  • sanjayg111
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Re: willingness to pay

A recent program of Water.Org from Kenya shows that either behaviour change promotion and marketing precedes WASH product or go simultaneously. Often is the case that if people get to know about a product through marketing or promotions and the product itself is not there on the shelf, they often loose interest or do not take it seriously, particularity when the target is low income community and the products have health and convenience value. For me it is important that these products are already pilot tested before going full scale promotion and sale.
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  • KenCaplan
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Re: willingness to pay

Thanks, Sanjay and Elisabeth, for the posts bringing us back to sanitation marketing. The pages that you reference, Elisabeth, from the LSHTM creativity in behaviour change symposium indeed offer a lot of food for thought. I confess this is not an area that I have much experience in. It seems clear, though, that we are not talking enough about what works inside the sector as well as with behaviour change experts from other sectors.

I do remember early discussions around WASH partnerships between public, private and civil society sectors and how each sector wanted to "control" the messaging (as the mandated authority on public health with a vested interest in constituents, as the party interested in sales and marketing with a vested interest in customers, and as the party interested in engagement and equity with a vested interest in "communities"). Controlling the message meant that you could plan for the response organisationally. It seems rare that the 3 groups come together to design an approach to messages that is meaningful and effective, requiring a joined up response from all three sides. Ultimately though as Sanjay suggests, putting the right messages in place only works when the systems (products and services) are there to respond.

You make an interesting point, Elisabeth, also about our terminology. Is marketing the right word for what we want to see happening? Are we clear about what it means and the implications? And how does it fit in with all the other tools that we use to "promote" behaviour change? (This was also addressed in part in another recent thematic discussion on sanitation and hygiene behaviour change programming for scale and sustainability - link .)

With regards -
Ken
Ken Caplan
Partnerships in Practice
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