Why WASH businesses fail? (Question from Ethiopia)

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Why WASH businesses fail? What approaches can replace CLTSH? (Question from Ethiopia)

Dears scholars and practitioners, 
1. In my sofar WASH  field work I'm observing majority of private WASH business partners were dropped their business or services after some period of time ? why 
2. Here in  my country we are failing to reach ODF  by using  CLTSH approach?    If you have any approach that can replace  CLTSH approach I like to learn from you guys. 
Thank you so much
Bacha 
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Re: Why WASH businesses fail? What approaches can replace CLTSH? (Question from Ethiopia)


Thank you for your very important question and sharing it with professionals in this Forum.

In your first point, you share your observation that the majority of private WASH business partners dropped their business or services after some period of time. This is worrying, as we need the opposite: more professionals to join the sector. What can we learn from your observation? 
Before rushing into quick answers, I think we should listen a bit more to you: are you willing to share a bit more for our understanding?

In your second point, you suggest, that reaching ODF in Ethiopia by using the CLTSH approach has failed. You are asking for another approach that could eventually "replace" CLTSH. Maybe it is the CLTSH approach - maybe there are other elements representing obstacles in reaching ODF your country? Can I invite you to share a bit more?

Thank you again for sharing your points under "Learning from failure" - could you please describe or enumerate a bit more what you think has failed? I believe we must first try to analyze, what the failure looks like before we can learn from it (and come up with thoughts on how to best solve it ;-)

Looking forward to hearing from you!
Stefan
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Re: Why private company WASH efforts fail

WASH is a systemic, or holistic issue. It cannot be divided into separate components. Many private companies have failed to appreciate this fact. Thus, they divide the issue into separate boxes, and for each box, they hire a subcontractor to manage it. Their payments are mostly performance based. This means that each subcontractor has a narrow focus on its own specific box. Thus, there is neither integration nor coordination, meaning that the project is essentially doomed to fail. It would be a real miracle if such a project turned out to be a success.
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Re: Why WASH businesses fail? What approaches can replace CLTSH? (Question from Ethiopia)

Majority of private WASH business partners dropped their business or services after some period of time. This is worrying, as we need the opposite: more professionals to join the sector. What can we learn from your observation? 
I am working in the area for  the last 9 years now. Most of the time we established , trained  and  equipped  private partners in order they engaged in and owned  WASH business .  Further we arranged loan services for  them.  we work on demand creation with  existing government structure and some time we used to conduct WASH market day  activation and so on for the business.   But almost all of the individuals  we incubated in this business were  left  the services after some period of time.  Since last year I started to ask my self why they fail? When I rechecked  our past performances they are multiplied by zero.  Almost all the private  WASH partners we established, trained and capacitated and supported  at the time  are  providing the services now. Even  I couldn't  get them   there( working Sanitation business) and they have no memory of what we teach them. They are working  completely different businesses now.   When asked they replied the following reason  for their draw  back. 
  1.   they are not getting the initial  profit  they  expect  from the business 
  2.    Low communities willingness to invest in own  sanitation services / needs
  3.  Affordability of  some of products and services 
  4.   Cost of the product from govt  tax.
yes, reaching ODF in Ethiopia by using the CLTSH approach has failed. and I am requesting for another approach that could eventually "replace" CLTSH.   . To elaborate my Points more,
Here from 2013-2015  we used to sung CLTSH approach to make our country ODF at the end of 2015.  At the time it gets political attention.  Here from the directives passed from governors  to trigger all  villages the local administrators with village level  community health workers triggered  all villages at the time.   But unfortunately  the conducted triggering were carried by  campaign and these villages were not followed up properly to the end  and finally majorities of them( triggered villages)  didn't reached their ODF status.  Now to improve the sanitation status of  such kind of  communities by the same approach   we are not  succeeding .  when we conduct  triggering the communities are not ignited because they already exposed to the CLTSH approach from 2013-2015( they are not virgin com) . 
Therefore, my request is to get lesson from the expertise in the area  how  to  work to improved  the sanitation status of already triggered but draw backed communities ; to make them ODF .


Thank you so much 

Bacha kitesa
 Environmental Health  expert- MPH 
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Ethiopia
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Re: Why WASH businesses fail? What approaches can replace CLTSH? (Question from Ethiopia)

Dear Bacha,

Majority of private WASH business partners dropped their business or services after some period of time. This is worrying, as we need the opposite: more professionals to join the sector. What can we learn from your observation? 

Saddening to learn about failed WASH business interventions in Ethiopia. I can imagine there are significant successes worth noting as well even within the Ethiopian context (maybe worth investigating within your circles?).

I strongly feel the private sector is critical in contributing to tackling sanitation service problems that communities face. Sanitation businesses are an open opportunity that needs to be explored further within Africa as they have huge innovative potential in contributing to improved sanitation service provision. Currently, the sector, particularly within Africa has less competition in this area, and has significant profit potential. There are a number of business ventures around the globe that have made significant progress in sanitation service provision (sanitation product manufacturing and production for example ceramic toilets, hygiene products etc). One such venture worth mentioning here in Africa, Kenya is Sanergy, a company that i have personally followed and appreciated for years, that provides clean sanitation solutions in the form of modular sanitation facilities called 'Fresh Life Toilets'. Sanergy uses a franchising model to sell their product to local entrepreneurs, for about 588 USD. The facilities are installed targeting residents in the Mukuruii slum of Nairobi as users. Franchisees receive business management and operations training and earn revenues by charging customers 0.04-0.06 USD peruse. You can read more about the case study and the impacts here: [url=https://wdi.umich.edu/wp-content/uploads/Child-Impact-Case-Study-2-Improved-Sanitation-Sanergy.pdf 

One other consideration is developing a national catalog of sanitation businesses such as this one as a way of tracking successful businesses and learning best practices/ lessons learnt:  [url=https://www.ircwash.org/sites/default/files/sanitation_business_catalogue_web_0.pdf


yes, reaching ODF in Ethiopia by using the CLTSH approach has failed. and I am requesting for another approach that could eventually "replace" CLTSH.   . To elaborate my Points more,

There are several proven approaches and interventions that can be taken to help communities achieve good sanitation and hygiene practices. Apart from Community-led Total Sanitation other approaches include: Community Health Clubs (CHCs), the Child-to-child (CtC) approach,  Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) among others. More information can be found here: https://www.wateraid.org/uk/publications/sanitation-and-hygiene-approaches-technical-brief
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Re: Why WASH businesses fail? (Question from Ethiopia)

Dear  Chaiwe
Thank you for your optimism about our WASH business success here and, I appreciated the different approaches you shared for me.

But My concern is most of the time WASH business partners are actively engaged in the business only through the period when the project they are supported is active. But they   are not continued in the business once the project they were kept supported phase out. This why I want to question ‘why Business Fail?’ To learn what we must do differently to make the market WASH actors sustain after phasing out of the different WASH market projects being implemented in all corners of the country and in Africa? Most of the time WASH market actors die imminently once the project under which they were supported phase out. [LIFE FOR PRIVATE WASH BUSSINESS PARTNERS AFTER PHASE OUT OF PROJECTS.]
As you mentioned Africa is fertile continent for WASH business. Majority of HHS are still using open defecation while the others are using substandard sanitation Facilities. Further there are not much competent business partners/ Investors in this area. Therefore, company owners who want to invest in sanitation business in Africa can pour much profit if they will plant their factories here in Africa (Eth) or Factories who are producing WASH (Water, sanitation, and Hygiene) products at abroad, if they will work on establishing
of strong market chain, they will get abundant profit within short period of time. Africa is fertile land for WASH business, but itneeds great involvement from all the concerned stake holders. The policy makers and public servant should have to work on creating favorable enabling environment for the business and in creating of demand. The suppliers (the product owners/ Factories, importers, whole sellers and distributors and retailer should avail diversified and ample affordable WASH products.
Thanks 
Bacha 
(WASH Expert , BSc, MPH, )
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Re: Why WASH businesses fail? (Question from Ethiopia)

Dear Kitesab and Members, 

All that has been reported, in your observations on projects on funding ie during phase of funds, and after funding elapses, is totally true.
It just proves, that  All WASH Projects to sustain in its working phase, need financial support. This is not forthcoming directly to communities from the projects and finances to just sustain and meet on going expenses need to come from external sources ie from Governmental or any other institutional support viz. CSR Etc.
Therefore, financial gains need to be generated, if the WASH Projects, need to be self- sustaining over longer run.
Hence both time and efforts exerted by communities, need to be compensated for costs and expenses, and because it is an arduous and hardy projects, communities need certain profits which is justified to come from the projects.
Therefore the working mechanism is needed to provide for these efforts and also for propagation and out -spread, if needed to expand the outputs Etc.
Duly these factors need to be slotted in while the WASH Projects are started at the initial stages itself with certain extra hard- ship allowances .

Observations issued in the best interests of the communities..

Well wishes. 
Prof Ajit Seshadri 
Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Head-Environment , VigyanVijay Foundation, Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others)Located at present at Chennai, India
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Re: Why WASH businesses fail? (Question from Ethiopia)

Dear Prof Ajit
Thank you for your look at and feedback. As you mentioned to  make a business (Here WASH business) sustain,  financial support is very important; Then business actor got money to engage in it. Equally, customers demand for a service, or a product is also required (my assumption). Therefore, institutions, organizations, NGOS, CSO etc who are developing WASH business should have to give equal weight  for creation of demand on customers.
Dears all , You are welcome for more feedback and views.
Thank you all
Bacha ( Bsc, MPH, -chief Environmental Expert )
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Re: Why WASH businesses fail? (Question from Ethiopia)

Dear Kitesaab.and Susana 
Members: 
Will like to cite an example of a Project, as to how it has sustained itself so well and realised benefits to communities and brought up the quality of living too.
The property rates and the real - estate value of the assets too got appreciated more than the similar neighbouring areas.
All this was possible on this WASH Project solely because of dedicated action by the communities at every phase, daily the project was monitored and controlled as needed. 
It is a simple urban drain having a flow of  100 kl per day, of OSS Sewage flows from community clusters up stream to this stream .
The effluent cleaned by a Dewats wwt plant made on the bank of the urban drain evolves daily 90kl of recycled water .
This neo- water is used for irrigating 10 to 15 acres  of greens parks, gardens and lawns Etc
In the same area, we have also made RWH units at individual homes HHs, RWH Units need to be maintained yearly for their functioning effectively.
Here too, we have seen in HHs where there are rain- drainage problems,  RWH systems are well maintained,  And in HHs where there is no problem on rain flows going down stream, these RWH Units are not cleaned up and not maintained. Therefore RWH and recharge to aquifers do not happen and is a problem.
Same is the case, of a bio waste management project where bio wastes are led to composting mode Etc.. 
Trust you are aware of the happening in WASH Projects.
Well wishes 
Prof Ajit Seshadri 
Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Head-Environment , VigyanVijay Foundation, Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others)Located at present at Chennai, India
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