This is the final blog in the series, which is being released after AfricaSan 5 where the African sanitation community came together to assess progress against the Ngor commitments on Sanitation and Hygiene. Learning gained from the side-session on Market-based Rural Sanitation held on February 22nd also shapes this final blog.
Blog one in this series was about the opportunities for market shaping in West and Central Africa and blog two shared the experience of the SHAWN project in Nigeria. This third blog looks at how market based sanitation (MBS) might be a means to accelerate the scale of improved sanitation uptake in Africa including amongst the poorest and most marginalised households and communities. It draws upon both the regional sanitation industry consultation (see report here) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF and USAID side-session on market based rural sanitation held as part of AfricaSan5.
Recent reports have highlighted that neither MBS nor CLTS or other behaviour change approaches alone will be adequate for everyone, everywhere, all of the time (1, 2 and 3). It is increasingly recognised by practitioners that being effective calls for context-specific policies and practices that are less rigid or dogmatic about what approaches are used (4, 5 and 6). Interventions need to be flexible and adaptable and be designed with the priorities of target groups, including the products and services that they want, at the forefront. Furthermore, approaches need to be responsive to context and different stages of a programme both of which should inform decision-making (6).
Conducive contexts for MBS
With this in mind, which contexts are most conducive for MBS? Where and how can it be made more effective? Under what conditions are we most likely to find scenarios where the poorest and most vulnerable are climbing the sanitation ladder? And where is the market creating opportunities for people as consumers, entrepreneurs, and artisans?
A WaterAid-Plan-UNICEF joint rural sanitation guidance document (see document here) shared in Abuja and at AfricaSan5 recommends beginning with an analysis of the current sanitation situation, economic and social contexts, the physical environment and the enabling environment. Such an analysis forms the basis to determine what approaches will be appropriate for increasing basic sanitation in that particular context.
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