iDE Global WASH
Markets can effectively deliver WASH.
Public efforts and financing alone are not enough to meet the sustainable development goals for sanitation and clean water—the private sector needs to be engaged as well. iDE’s Global WASH Initiative is a group of business savvy practitioners and strategists, knowledgeable about how to expand access to WASH products and services through successful market development programs. Our work engages private businesses to collaborate with government and others to achieve social good while making a sustainable profit. By being able to think both like a business and understand customers wants and desires, iDE determines what motivates both groups. The entrepreneurial culture at iDE provides us the ability to take risks to accelerate progress and greatly expand scale and delivery.
The WASH Markets website is a compilation of lessons learned from the past decade, initially launched in 2019 with specific details from our Cambodia program. We plan to expand this site over the next couple of years to include our experiences in other countries, as well as continue to update Cambodia as it drives toward full sanitation coverage. Check back often to find out how we are leveraging markets to deliver WASH at scale.
To learn more about our work, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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iDE pioneered market-based approaches in the WASH sector that incorporate private businesses, NGOs, government, and other stakeholders. Since iDE Vietnam launched the world’s first market-based sanitation program in 2003, this model has been successfully replicated across iDE’s other country programs and by other organizations. iDE currently works across our global WASH portfolio to improve sanitation coverage using an approach called Sanitation Marketing.
Pioneering sanitation marketing
1995: Hand-pumps in Vietnam
iDE Vietnam launched a hand-pump project in 1995 to improve rural households’ access to water for both kitchen gardens and household needs.
1997-2000: Clean water in Bangladesh and Cambodia
iDE Bangladesh entered the WASH sector in 1997 following the discovery of arsenic contamination in groundwater. iDE developed a ceramic water filter, rainwater harvesting systems, and two different types of hand pumps, as well as leading awareness-raising campaigns around arsenic contamination.
In 2000, iDE invited Potters for Peace to Cambodia to explore using their ceramic water filters in rural areas. The encouraging results convinced the iDE Cambodia program to enter the WASH sector.
2003-2008: Sanitation marketing develops in Vietnam and Cambodia
In 2003 iDE Vietnam launched the first-ever market-based program to improve rural sanitation coverage; this approach became known as sanitation marketing. In a matter of years, the Vietnam program had achieved significant and sustainable impact, demonstrating the potential of this approach.
iDE Cambodia launched a sanitation marketing pilot project in 2008. The program went on to develop the award-winning Easy Latrine and facilitate the sale of over 17,000 latrines in 16 months.
2003-2010: Developing water solutions in Nepal
iDE Nepal designed a Multiple Use water System (MUS) that provides communities with water for both domestic and productive purposes, saving people from having to travel 30 minutes per day to collect water.
Impact at scale
Setting the standard
2008-2012: The birth of Hydrologic
In 2012, Hydrologic, iDE’s clean water social enterprise, became the first organization in Asia to register a water filtration project under the voluntary Gold Standard scheme. Hydrologic has been able to benefit from carbon offset funding since the filters reduce the amount of wood burned to boil water.
2011-2015: Scaling sanitation marketing globally
iDE Cambodia facilitated the sale of over 140,000 improved latrines between 2011 and 2014, increasing coverage in program areas by 19.9 percentage points. An analysis by Georgetown University also found that after iDE’s intervention, rural diarrhea prevalence in program areas decreased by 6.5 percentage points.
A 2011 pilot led Bangladesh to launch several sanitation marketing projects. iDE Bangladesh’s WASH work under the Profitable Opportunities for Food Security Project led to 200,000 customers purchasing improved latrines over 18 months.
Also in 2011, iDE Nepal launched sanitation marketing efforts to contribute to the national government’s ambitious targets to reach nationwide ODF status by 2018. The Nepal team worked with local entrepreneurs to sell over 60,000 toilets, making a significant contribution to the country’s drive to ODF.
In 2013, iDE launched the first-ever sanitation marketing program in Ethiopia, a country with a long history of subsidized WASH projects. The program has gone on to develop innovative solutions to latrine pit collapse in unstable soil and pilot WASH financing to better reach poor households.
Sama Sama, a WASH social enterprise started by iDE in Ghana, launched in 2015 to serve customers in Ghana’s northern regions. Since then, Sama Sama has honed its business model and diversified its product offering to become a leading provider of high quality WASH solutions in the region.
Leading the way
Since 2015: Expanding inclusive coverage
iDE Bangladesh continues to explore products and messages that meet the needs of users with disabilities or who have lifecycle-related mobility constraints, such as pregnant women and the elderly. iDE Cambodia’s Interlock Shelter, which began selling in 2017, is an affordable, customizable latrine shelter that can be adapted for wheelchair users and others living with disabilities.
Since 2015: Solving technical challenges with design
In 2015, iDE Bangladesh commercialized the FilTo, a latrine pit filter suitable for high groundwater environments, ensuring safer and less frequent pit emptying. In 2017, iDE Cambodia piloted an Alternating Dual Pit upgrade that provides households a safe onsite fecal sludge management option in rural areas where pit emptying services are rare and expensive. The Cambodia team is also conducting research on latrine designs to serve customers in areas of high groundwater and seasonal flooding.
Since 2018: Addressing a range of markets from saturated to distorted
As latrine coverage reaches nearly 70% in iDE Cambodia’s intervention areas, the program has begun exploring how to operate in saturated markets and ensure latrine businesses can diversify product offerings to remain sustainable. In Bangladesh, the team is testing how sanitation marketing might be adapted and applied in the distorted markets that surround refugee camps, characterized by heavy subsidization and poor quality versions of well-known latrine products.