Rethinking


Rethinking the whole approach

Sanitation Marketing is based on the logical and structured application of the principles used to develop and promote a wide variety of product and services throughout the globe.


  • the people they are trying to support
  • how to design products they want
  • how to ensure supply chains that can deliver the goods at an affordable price

Promotional material must be designed to appeal to the values held by the people, not the values held by the donor or the public sector. It is the ultimate ‘People Centred Approach’. It replaces the failed supply driven approach with a more sustainable holistic demand driven one.

Sanitation Marketing is not an ‘ABC’ solution of ‘How to do sanitation’, rather it is a way of thinking about an age old problem in a different light. It does not replace the need for innovative and creative thinking but provides a framework in which innovation and creativity can thrive.

Rethinking Policy and Regulation

A unified approach is needed whereby national policy allows for flexibility at local level and is married with appropriate, and enforceable regulations designed to complement the education and promotion processes. This three pronged “Carrots, Sticks and Promises” approach (Rothschild 1999) is an interesting basis on which to develop new policies and regulations.

Rethinking the use of Subsidies

The starting point for thinking about subsidies is to stop focusing on subsidizing the construction of private home sanitation facilities and start focusing on ways to use public finance. The aim is to encourage home owners to build and use latrines themselves.

Project designers have to seriously tackle the common problem that all supply driven approaches suffer from, namely, latrine building stops when the construction subsidy stops. The solution is the often quoted, but never defined ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent ’.

Rethinking partnership Partnering with the Private Sector

Accelerated progress in the provision of safe excreta disposal will not be achieved by any one institution, whether private or pubic, working in isolation from the rest of the sector. There is a dire need for productive, mutually beneficial partnership in the sanitation sector involving both the large and small scale private sector

Rethinking the latrine design process

Latrines are usually designed by engineers working to a technical specification and not to a target cost or to the needs of the consumer, their needs and desires are given little consideration. If however the user is placed at the centre of the design process and if building standards can be relaxed, a whole range of innovative solutions become possible which are capable of making the

An overview of excreta management in high density urban area

Most high density urban areas in developing countries are not served by sewerage based excreta disposal systems and the on-site latrine is the most common form of excreta disposal. Onsite sanitation rarely features as a priority in any plans to improve a city’s sanitation and large sections of the population are ignored or marginalised.

As a generalisation, demand for latrines in high density areas is high and the constraints relate to space, affordability, limited design choice, lack of a permanent solution (linked to lack of pit emptying services), land tenure and landlords not meeting their responsibilities. These vary in relevance from site to site and sanitation programmes should be aiming to assist house owners to overcome these constraints and make latrine ownership the rational choice, possible and affordable.

An overview of sustainable excreta management in rural areas

Open defecation in a quiet secluded spot in a low density rural area can be a pleasant experience and has advantages over building and using a latrine. Communities become stuck in the routine of open defecation and may require outside help to highlight the problem and find new solutions. Demand for latrines in rural areas is generally low and any latrines present will probably be self-built from locally grown, ‘free’ construction materials. See Understanding what do in areas

The percieved need to be always integrated with water supply

In the 1990’s there was a push to ensure that water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion were always integrated within the same project. Ever since, sanitation and hygiene have been piggy-backing on the political and community demand for improved water supplies

Sanitation has different time horizons, decision-making processes and requires different skills from water supply. The wisdom of always running water supply and sanitation programmes together is therefore questionable.

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