Jan Willem Rosenboom
A growing body of evidence shows that there is a strong causal link between exposure to poor sanitation and detrimental health, human capital, and economic outcomes. At the same time a number of recent impact evaluations of specific sanitation interventions show mixed results. This heterogeneity in findings raises the questions of whether and how the demonstrated benefits of improved sanitation can be consistently achieved through regular project implementation. This paper attempts to show that the benefits of improved sanitation can be consistently achieved through investing in interventions that address the drivers of latrine use and by divesting from interventions that do not address the drivers of latrine use.
Concerns about enduring low rural sanitation coverage figures in Cambodia prompted a series of studies providing insight into overall sector performance, sanitation demand and existing supply chains. Findings from the research led to the formulation of a sanitation marketing pilot aiming to make affordable, desirable latrines available through market channels. Option design, contractor training, awareness raising and marketing are the main components of the programme, implemented in two provinces. To date (22 months since inception) the project has resulted in a branded, low-cost pour-flush latrine sold by trained suppliers, who have sold more than 7,400 units. Planned next steps include expanding technology choices (still lower costs, and/or suitable for challenging physical circumstances), developing stronger linkages with micro-credit schemes and developing approaches for scaling up the approach.