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National platform on sanitation marketing: Learning from regional intervention

Published on: 28/09/2017

Aimed at sharing some of the latest experiences and developments in sanitation marketing, the quarterly National Sanitation Marketing Multi-stakeholders Platform meeting was held in September 2017 in collaboration with the USAID Transform WASH Project.

Established in 2014 the Sanitation Marketing MSP works to support improved sanitation, a key objective of the One WASH National Programme and the Health Sector Transformation Plan. It works to promote learning and collaboration on practical implementation of the National Sanitation Marketing Guidelines and specifically seeks to create an enabling business environment for the private sector in sanitation. The platform is chaired by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and co-chaired by Federal Urban Job Creation and Food Security Agency (former FMSEDA) with members from government and non-government organizations and the private sector. The secretariat role recently transferred to IRC WASH, taking over from the World Bank.

The September 2017 meeting was a half-day session held at Golagul Tower where IRC WASH's office is located. The meeting was chaired by Ato Dagnew Tadesse from the FMoH and facilitated by Ato Atnafe Beyene from IRC WASH. The agenda set for the meeting included presentations on five major issues: Sanitation marketing experiences from Benishangul Gumuz region by a representative from the region's Health Bureau; The National Hygiene and Environmental Health Strategy by FMoH; Menstrual Hygiene Management KAP assessment results from six regions of Ethiopia by UNICEF and FMoH; Overview of Sanitation Marketing Guideline by IRC WASH; and, desk study results on Public Private Collaboration in sanitation marketing by IRC WASH.  


Ato Fikadu Adnew, Technical Assistant at Benishangul Gumuz Regional Health Bureau (RHB), presented the progress in sanitation marketing activities in his region. The region reports 29 percent improved sanitation coverage. To improve these conditions the RHB in collaboration with its partners has launched sanitation marketing activities in 2016 in two woredas i.e. Assosa and MaoKomo. The RHB has signed a MoU with the Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) of the region, Micro and Small Enterprises and an MFI to support the sanitation marketing initiatives. The RHB also conducted a needs assessment study to understand the demand and marketing of sanitation products and services. Based on this, the RHB with the TVET identified SaniMark centers and provided concrete slab production and business skill training. So far these enterprises have produced 307 slabs and sold 230 in Assosa, whereas in MaoKomo the enterprise has produced 60 slabs and sold none.

The key challenges identified in marketing the slabs is that they are very heavy so it has been a challenge for the enterprises to move their products. The slabs weigh about 130 kgs. To overcome this challenge, the RHB and TVET re-designed the mold to make the slab in three pieces. Transporting the pieces is easier than transporting the whole slab at once using donkey carts. At the moment, woreda officials are assisting the enterprises by transporting the slabs whenever they conduct site visits. However, in the long run the RHB is planning to establish new Sani Mark centers in the remote and hard to reach areas.

 Fikadu Adnew, Technical Assistance at Benishangul Gumuz Regional Health Bureau, Sanitation Marketing Activities in Benishangul Gumuz Some questions raised by participants were on the reasons for the low performance in MaoKomo compared to Assosa woreda. Ato Fekadu replied that the good achievement in Assosa is related to high commitment in Assosa woreda (from woreda Health office, Adminstration and HEWs). Moreover, the availability of the product (concrete slab), price and placement of the Sani centers is convenient for households in Assosa. On top of all these reasons, all the kebeles in the Assosa are open defecation free. In MaoKomo woreda, issues like accessibility of the woreda especially during the wet season and availability of raw materials like river sand have been barriers to the progress. Also, the commitment at woreda level is weaker.

Participants of the meeting discussed the need to expand such experiences to other regions and scale up sanitation marketing activities. Finally, the meeting was closed taking the following three action points: to make the next MSP meeting a full day session, to have the MSP meeting every two months instead of quarterly, and to include more discussion of the Public Private Collaboration study on the next agenda.

Find the presentations in the downloads section below.

This is an ongoing series of blogs and publications by IRC under the USAID Transform WASH project. Please click here for all IRC’s work on this project.

USAID TRANSFORM WASH sets out to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) outcomes in Ethiopia by increasing access to and sustained use of a wide spectrum of affordable WASH products and services, with a focus on sanitation. It does so by transforming the market for low-cost, high quality WASH products and services: stimulating demand at community level, strengthening supply chains, and building the enabling environment for a vibrant private market.

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

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