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Could sanitation marketing in Ethiopia link to self-supply?

Published on: 09/06/2013

Eline Bakker reflects on practitioners' training in the marketing of sanitation in Nairobi.

Last week, I attended a practitioners' training event on the marketing of sanitation in Nairobi, Kenya organised by WaterAid. Danielle Pedi (independent consultant on WASH market development) and Mimi Jenkins (author of Sanitation Marketing for Managers) shared their practical knowledge and various approaches to the marketing of sanitation: from a one-stop-shop in Cambodia to on-site casting by cycling masons in Benin and the SaniCenters in Pakistan. 'Sanitation marketing' or SanMark, aims to expand the market and create access, but should CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation) always happen before SanMark? This is a question we discussed at length. As yet, there is not enough evidence to support either school of thought. As no one size fits all, we must pilot and see which strategy is most appropriate for our countries.

Is there an opportunity to combine supply chains for the two household-led initiatives of Self Supply and SanMark?

Of the 45 participants in attendance, five represented Ethiopia (UNICEF, CRS, WaterAid, IMC and IRC). This suggests some interest to move forward in developing sanitation supply chains, at least amongst NGOs. The government had also expressed interest. The Ministry of Health in Ethiopia had recently drafted sanitation marketing guidelines for rural and peri-urban settings. These guidelines set out the need to develop sanitation centres and provide seed money to those willing to try. Research in Pakistan and other countries where sanitation centres have been introduced suggests that the approach of developing immobile shops is often not successful in creating a vibrant market, because supply and households continue to be disconnected. As such, is there still an opportunity to work with the government of Ethiopia to try other approaches, perhaps more market-oriented methods, to the marketing of sanitation products and services? Is there an opportunity to combine supply chains for the two household-led initiatives of Self Supply and SanMark?

IRC is supporting the Ministry of Water and Energy of Ethiopia to develop its own Self-Supply Acceleration Programme (SSAP). The SSAP seeks to enable households to move up the ladder through increased access to affordable supplies and services: in this case, for water. Over the next few months IRC will explore some of the potential links between SanMark, Self Supply and HWTS in the country. Later this year, we will propose to organise a seminar in Addis Ababa to discuss the findings with organisations active in this field.

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