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Published on: 28/06/2022

USAID Transform WASH has consistently worked to improve capacity for market-based sanitation in Ethiopia. As part of these efforts, a new online course was developed to introduce virtual learners to the topic. As part of testing the course, from the 10th to the 12th of May 2022, a blended training -- mixing online and in person learning -- was organised in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. The training was joined by 22 people from national and regional government offices (e.g., health and job creation), national training institutes (technical and vocational training centers and the Ethiopian Water Technology Institute), microfinance institutions (savings and credit associations and banks), and development partners.

Participants individually took the 12-hour online course, ‘’Market-Based Sanitation: The Basics,’’ then participated in face-to-face presentations by experts on key content of the online course followed by group discussions. 

Getting to grips with sanitation as a business and learning online

Participants had a very mixed background and level of experience with market-based sanitation. Most had never previously followed an online course. Some struggled on the first day with setting up an account on the online platform to access the course. They needed the support of the facilitators to get started and gain confidence in using the online platform during the first two days.

Participants expressed satisfaction with the mix of in-person support and online coursework. After completing each session, facilitators provided summary presentations, and participants actively joined in discussions. They discussed the implementation of market-based sanitation on the ground and shared best practices from different parts of the country.

After three days of blended training, 20 of the 22 participants completed the online course and earned their certificates. They found the self-study through the online course motivating because it enabled them to visualize their progress. It spurred them on to engage actively with the materials.

Reactions from participants

Participants liked the online content on market-based sanitation, especially experiences from around the globe presented in short texts, videos, and animations. The course provides additional resources as tools and manuals mixed with exercises and reflection in online forum discussions. The presentations by experts brought in more examples from the Ethiopian context, to which they could relate, and helped resolve issues. The lively group discussions allowed for further sharing of experiences with market-based sanitation.

The training developed my confidence. When I passed the tests online and earned the certificate, I felt so proud. I will now continue with other courses on the platform.’ Shitahun Yirsaw, Amhara Cooperative Agency

Participants also felt that using a blended learning approach made it easier to cascade and replicate the training at regional and district levels with their partners. Inviting other colleagues to follow the free online course will make it easier to pass on knowledge than by simply using a training manual.

‘The course taught me that sanitation is an untapped business opportunity for the jobless youths.’ - Dibaba Hordofa, Oromia job creation agency

‘Some of the challenges that I heard from small and micro-enterprises that benefited from the loan we provided for slab manufacturing are like enterprises in other countries, I understood from the course. This gives us confidence in providing loans even if there are problems’ Bati Woldao, the Sinke bank.

About the course Market-based Sanitation: The Basics

This new 12-hour online course brings together the latest thinking from around the world on enabling the private sector to offer more products and services for improved and safely managed household sanitation. It has been developed by IRC, with the support of USAID Transform WASH, in collaboration with PSI and Water For People. The course aims to equip users with insights and tools on the role of market-based sanitation in creating the strong systems needed for universal and lasting sanitation services. 

By the end of the course, users will have a good understanding of the role of market-based sanitation as a key component of strong WASH systems, which are needed to realise universal, sustainable sanitation services. Users will know:

  • What market-based sanitation entails
  • Different approaches to applying market-based sanitation
  • Market-based sanitation as an essential part of stronger WASH systems

The online course is available for free on the WASH Systems Academy and is a self-paced and self-guided course. It can also be used in combination with webinars, group work, on the job support, or part of a 3-day workshop.

The online course ‘Market-Based Sanitation: The Basics’ is available for free on the WASH Systems Academy.

About Transform WASH

USAID Transform WASH aims to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) outcomes in Ethiopia by increasing market access to and sustained use of a broader spectrum of affordable WASH products and services, with a substantial focus on sanitation.

Transform WASH achieves this by transforming the market for low-cost quality WASH products and services: stimulating demand at the community level, strengthening supply chains, and improving the enabling environment for a vibrant private market.

USAID Transform WASH is a USAID-funded activity implemented by PSI in collaboration with SNV, Plan International, and IRC WASH. The consortium is working closely with government agencies, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, the One WASH National Program, and regional and sub-regional governments.


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