The Indian Government and UNICEF copied the approach in India, financing local groups such as women’s groups to set up production centres and village entrepreneurs to open sanitation markets and shops. The entrepreneurs get training and a starting-up credit which they have to pay back. The first Rural Sanitary Marts (RSM) were set up in Allahabad in early 1990.
Christine Sijbesma (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Private sector, small-scale, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Asia, Rural Sanitary Marts (RSM)
In Bangladesh, UNICEF and the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) established some 900 production centres and 3,000 ‘rural sanitary marts’ (RSM), which sell all materials for toilet self-construction at subsidised prices. When the commercial private sector saw a market for latrines emerging, they responded by selling simpler and cheaper models, which became very popular. Currently, there are some 3,000 government-sponsored centres and an estimated 4, 4000 private production centres and outlets plus a number of NGO sponsored centres. The estimated sales value grew from US $1.5 million to US $4.4 million in three years.
In reaction to this emerging market, the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) and UNICEF now start new subsidised production and sales centres only in areas that lack a well-developed private sector. In some locations local enterprises can get support to promote and market their wares through signposts at their shops.
Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), UNICEF, local small-scale private sector
The solution is already being implemented and has demonstrated long-term sustainability and added-value
In many countries in Asia, the absence of local suppliers of materials and parts for toilet self-construction is a limiting factor for (community-managed) rural sanitation.
Due to the availability of spare parts and materials need for toilet self-construction, numbers of communities are now ODF and have improved hygiene practices. In addition, some studies showed that these emerging markets have influenced number of employees in affected areas. In addition, this approach tends to involve number of poor women into local production and construction of the toilets, whom then get work and an income from improving village sanitation.
It is estimated in 2000 that public and private RMS centres have sold more than 2.3 million sanitary latrines in Bangladesh. According to some estimates, small-scale private producers now supply over 90 per cent of the sanitary hardware used by rural households in Bangladesh.
However, whether RSMs are profitable depends on their prices and minimum annual sales. Under the total sanitation campaign, the Government usually provide a maximum Rs 3.5 lakh (US $88,844) for the construction of a shed/showroom, acquisition of equipment, training of masons and motivators, promotion campaign materials and a salary of Rs 750 per month (US $19) for two years. Cost-sharing is 80% central government and 20% state government. An RSM will break even when it constructs around 1,000 toilets in a year, e.g. 700 toilets with squatting plates and 300 other toilets
Achieving the MDGs for sanitation and – in time – freedom of open defecation only make sense if (1) existing households continue to use, empty and (re)build sanitary toilets and (2) newly formed households also build, use and sustain such provisions.
There is a surprising lack of information on what happens on both points after promotion programmes have ended or moved to new communities. Monitoring programmes are usually focused on latrine presence, use and hygiene, and not whether over time existing toilets had been replaced and new households had built new ones. More longitudinal studies on toilet adoption and use and revisits to representative samples of communities, which have been proven to be open defecation free, are urgently needed to fill this gap of insight in effective promotion strategies.
The Indian Government and UNICEF copied the approach in India, financing local groups such as women’s groups to set up production centres and village entrepreneurs to open sanitation markets and shops. The entrepreneurs get training and a starting-up credit which they have to pay back. The first Rural Sanitary Marts (RSM) were set up in Allahabad in early 1990. The idea was so attractive that it was scaled up before it had been properly tested, and was adopted as the standard approach in all sanitation programmes in which UNICEF-India was involved. However, expansion was much slower than in Bangladesh. Different sources reveal different figures of small-scale producers from about 450 RSMs in various states in India in 1998 (Kolsky et al, 1999), to 309 RSMs in Uttar Pradesh (Mendiratta, 2000) and 330 in Midinapure, West Bengal (Jacob, undated). Consolidated data on external evaluation of RSM performance were not found.
Other products/practices are also promoted through these RSMs and social marketing are hygiene kits. In Nepal, a hand washing with soap practice was promoted by the commercial private sector of Hindustan Lever, a daughter company of Unilever. The company has partnered with existing micro-credit programmes to help poor rural women set up small scale businesses that promote and sell the company’s products. Hindustan Lever provides training and local marketing support including a tool to show how soap cleans hands better than water alone. The Shakti project started in Andhra Pradesh in 2000 and has since expanded to 12 other Indian states and to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Following findings of this case study show the importance of private sector participation in the rural sanitation sector in Bangladesh:
- Removal of subsidies increased private sector participation.
- Private sector was able to provide more flexible and innovative services than the public or NGO sectors.
- Private sector produced more affordable and demand-responsive products.
- Private sector participation was higher where start-up costs were low.
- Range of products and prices is preferable to a single standard product (allows market to drive development).
- Effective supply chains can be developed through social marketing and network-building.
- Public and NGO sectors have important roles to play in capacity building and research.
C. Sijbesma (2011). TOP 25: Financing models for sanitation of the urban poor. IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. (in press)
Sijbesma, C. (2008). Sanitation and hygiene in South Asia : progress and challenges : summary paper of the South Asian Sanitation & Hygiene Practitioners’ Workshop organised by IRC, WaterAid and BRAC in Rajendrapur, Bangladesh, 29-31 January 2008. In: Beyond construction : use by all : a collection of case studies from sanitation and hygiene promotion practitioners in South Asia. London, UK, WaterAid and Delft, The Netherlands, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. http://www.irc.nl/page/40450
Fröhlich U (1999) Private Sector – just a (new) hope? Report on the 15th AGUASAN Workshop, Gersau/Rotschuo, Switserland, June 28 – July 2. St Gallen, Switserland: SKAT http://www.skat.ch/publications/prarticle.2005-09-29.5069774463/prarticle.2005-09-29.1875579521/
Robinson A and Paul A (2000) The Growth of Private Sector Participation in Rural Water Supply and Sanitation in Bangladesh. (Field Note). New Delhi, India: WSP. http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2005/02/02/000090341_20050202092205/Rendered/PDF/314270WSP0case0study0Rwss.pdf
PAC/Practical Action Consulting (2006) Bangladesh Rural Sanitation Supply Chain and Employment Impact. Human Development Report 2006 Occasional Paper. New York, USA:UNDP Human Development Report Office. http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2006/papers/practical%20action%20consulting%20a.pdf
Galway M (2000) New approaches to promoting sanitation in rural Bangladesh (Field note). New Delhi, India:WSP South Asia Region. http://www.wsp.org/wsp/sites/wsp.org/files/publications/sa_approach.pdf
Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) – Sanitation Marketing Toolkit, (Website)<http://washplus.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=ed50820bda89f8241498bf4db&id=3d253ee544&e=a91fa770e0>
This toolkit offers practitioners and program managers suggestions based on WSP’s experience implementing sanitation marketing in a range of diverse geographic, cultural, and political settings.