Sanitation Marketing aims to increase access to improved household sanitation P.4 sustainably and at scale by developing the sanitation marketplace to better serve the needs of low-income households, supporting and stimulating the supply side of sanitation products and services and by increasing demand. It draws on Social Marketing principles that can also be applied to the promotion of other behaviours with a ‘social value’ such as handwashing or the use of mosquito nets.
The objective of Sanitation Marketing is that households reach satisfactory levels of latrine coverage and hygiene behaviours without extended external support. It does this by creating demand for sanitation products and services and promoting a supportive regulatory environment for establishing a market offering affordable sanitation solutions. Sanitation Marketing, like Social Marketing, is based on formative research that puts consumers at its heart - whether ‘marketing’ a product or a behaviour. It analyses what consumers want and are willing to invest in (demand), what markets can offer and how the policy environment enables the approach (supply). The strategy is developed by applying the 4P’s of Social Marketing: Product, Place, Price and Promotion, to which two more Ps are often added: Policies and Partnership. The formative research findings determine the marketing strategy, promoted by messages and marketing materials through key communication channels (chapter C ). The strategy supports the development of adapted and desired sanitation products and services by engaging, supporting and training market actors (e.g. importers and wholesalers, masons, prefabricated concrete producers construction material retailers and financial service providers). Sanitation Marketing should be accompanied by a participatory hygiene promotion approach that encourages latrine use and handwashing such as Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST, F.6), Wash’Em F.22, Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS, F.2) or any of these in combination. Sanitation Marketing programmes must be continuously Monitored M.2 to measure effectiveness, ensure the continued support of market actors and that households needs and preferences are met.
The 4 P’s Social Marketing approach
Sanitation Marketing is appropriate for households with access to markets in urban, peri-urban and rural areas. It is not fully adapted to short-term displaced households, camps or urban slum areas with limited sanitation space. It can be implemented from the early recovery phase onwards but requires a context in which national and subnational policies are favourable to the sanitation marketing approach. It may not work well if government subsidies are used to undercut the real cost of sanitation materials although it can still be used if the subsidies are redirected to the programme’s sanitation services. The methodology is easy to scale up because the research information is likely to be relevant in other locations with similar sanitation supply and demand characteristics. Piloting the Sanitation Marketing approach first is, however, recommended.
A Sanitation Marketing project usually requires a project manager experienced in sanitation programming and business management as well as a social scientist or marketing specialist to lead the research. The manager should have access to a technical WASH team (e.g. water and sanitation engineers, public health, social behaviour change or hygiene promoters) and may require a microfinance, business development or livelihood/markets expert and an advertising and communication expert. A minimum of 12 months is recommended for the formative research, design and purchase and an additional 12 months for the Sanitation Marketing. Staff, partners, private and institutional actors may need training on the methodology. Sanitation Marketing does not require specific equipment but services such as local or regional marketing agencies and IEC T.19 materials and information channels can enhance the approach.
Sanitation Marketing can bridge gaps between social marketing, behaviour change analysis (chapter B ), market-based WASH programming P.8 and participatory sanitation approaches. It is more sustainable than subsidised interventions as it examines sanitation from a broader perspective, considers hardware demand and supply and engages households willing to access and use a product or service and maintain it in the long term. There is limited but promising evidence for the effectiveness of social marketing in hand hygiene in Europe but there is less evidence of its application in other communicable disease areas and with disadvantaged groups.
Spend time and resources on formative research to understand the whole context before launching any marketing activity
Monitor [M.2] outcomes regularly and adapt the intervention to changes in the context
Ensure inclusion during the formative research to avoid marginalising parts of the community
Coordinate and partner with others to enhance scale and impact [P.9]
Do not implement a Sanitation Marketing programme if the formative research indicates that subsidised sanitation programming areas may jeopardise the objective
Do not implement Sanitation Marketing in short-term projects; it needs time
In 2015, USAID implemented a programme in Senegal, combining CLTS F.2 with Sanitation Marketing. The programme worked with local communities, households, masons, entrepreneurs and technical experts to design improved latrine models that were cost-effective, durable, blocked odours and flies and ensured the clients’ safety, comfort and security. Different financial mechanisms (such as saving groups) were used to ensure households had access to cash. The project worked through village monitoring committees responsible for mobilising the community, promoting latrine sales, negotiating with masons and managing financial resources (e.g. latrine instalment payments collected for masons). After four years of implementation, 2347 latrines had been sold in CLTS triggered communities.
To increase sustainable access to improved household sanitation services at scale
Devine, J., Kullmann, C. (2011): Introductory Guide to Sanitation Marketing, WSP World Bank
Nabembezi, D., Nabunya, H. (undated): Sanitation Marketing: A Handbook for Sanitation Managers and Private Sector Players, Plan International, MoH Uganda
UNICEF (2020): Guidance for Market-Based Sanitation
Sijbesma, C., Truong, T. et al. (2010): Case Study on Sustainability of Rural Sanitation Marketing in Vietnam, World Bank Water and Sanitation Program
World Bank Water and Sanitation Program (2008): Sanitation Demand and Supply in Cambodia
World Bank Water and Sanitation Program (2004): The Case for Marketing Sanitation