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Product adjustment

Published on: 07/08/2012

When the available sanitation products do not, or only partially, match the existing demand, they must be adjusted. For example, the available models, materials and/or construction methods may be too expensive for the poorer yet larger part of the market.

Or cheaper models are available, but they come in rough grey concrete only, without status, attractiveness and easy cleaning. A large market asks for wide availability attractive products at different prices. Thus Watershed Asia and design-partner IDE created the award-winning EZ latrine (pronounced ‘easy’). The EZ latrine is a set of basic latrine parts produced and marketed locally in Cambodia. They allow building toilets cheaper, yet still adjust costs to consumer preferences. In Vietnam, IDE introduced the ring-based (semi)septic tank toilet. With GRET, IDE developed also a version for rocky areas and published a manual.  And a case study in Vanuatu, published in the Sharing Experiences book by WaterAid Australia, IWC and IRC, tells about enhancing handwashing with soap after toilet use through special handwashing stations with ‘tippy taps’, a homemade handwashing device.

To get innovations adoptable at scale, e.g. in district-wide approaches and provincial and regional sanitation programmes, generally means that they must be approved by government, and sometimes also adopted by sanitation industry. Planning for technology adjustment therefore also requires planning advocacy, steps and time for government authorization.

In Africa, a consortium of 7 African and 4 European partners cooperate in a 3-year applied research project (2011-2013) under the EC FP7- Africa research programme for more effective investment in new technologies to achieve water and sanitation targets in Africa. The project is called WASHTech.

Background information and materials referred to in the article:
  • Watershed Asia and design-partner IDE created the award-winning EZ latrine. The EZ latrine is a set of basic latrine parts produced and marketed locally in Cambodia
  • case study in Vanuatu tells about enhancing handwashing with soap after toilet use through 'tippy taps'
  • Sharing Experiences book by WaterAid Australia, IWC and IRC
  • Africa research programme for more effective investment in new technologies called WASHTech

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