Expanding access to improved sanitation for the poor: insights from the Philippines (Worldbank)

  • F H Mughal
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Improved Sanitation for the Poor in the Philippines

Improved Sanitation for the Poor in the Philippines


The World Bank has recently (Jan 2018) issued a useful publication, titled: Expanding access to improved sanitation for the poor: insights from the Philippines. It is available at: www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/0c6450be-6c6...2018.pdf?MOD=AJPERES .

According to the World Bank:

The Philippines is home to around twenty five million of the 2.3 billion people worldwide who lack access to a basic sanitation service. Poor sanitation has enormous economic and human costs. The spread of water-borne diseases, for instance, results in billions of dollars in costs to the government and poor quality of life for many citizens. IFC’s Inclusive Business team partnered with the Manila Water Foundation, which is Manila Water Company’s social responsibility arm established in 2005, to undertake a three-part study that would assess the reasons why low income urban households in the Philippines still do not have improved sanitation facilities and to test possible sanitation solutions that enable these households to improve their sanitation conditions. The study is part of IFC’s ongoing efforts to partner with the private and public sectors to promote inclusive and sustainable growth through market based solutions for the poor and underserved. The objectives of this study are to provide context for the sanitation conditions of low-income communities in the Philippines and to identify the opportunities and barriers to improving sanitation systems.

Interesting findings have been made by the document. There are:

• Current sanitation conditions for low-income households are substandard.
• Open defecation or other unsafe practices for disposing of waste in the environment pose significant risks to health and the environment.
• Demand for improved sanitation, particularly for private toilet solutions, is high among the urban poor.
• Cost is an important consideration among poor househilds, but desire for privacy, concenience, and safety also drive preferences.
• While poor households want improved sanitation solutions, costs, technical barriers, land rights, and other issues stand in their way of upgrading.
• Community engagement can play a positive role in influencing households about sanitation practices, and ensure project sustainability.

The paper has some useful recommendations, as well. These are:

• Develop quality and cost-effective solutions targeting low-income households.
• Incubate value chain players and explore holistic market-based business models.
• Facilitate access to financing to help break down affordability barriers and reduce upfront costs for sanitation systems.
• Design adequate payment methods and help facilitate payment for low-income households.
• Build awareness and create demand for solutions - Develop a targeted, community-based approach, and conduct education and marketing
campaigns to build understanding of the importance of improved sanitation and of available sanitation options.

The document will be useful to those who are working in the policy, planning and development fields.

F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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