Updated Jan 15, 2021

International Development Enterprises: Building Markets for Sanitation

https://www.ideglobal.org/areas-of-focus/wash

Dave Schutz

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iDE believes that every family deserves a toilet. We use human-centered approaches to build markets for hygienic toilets that can be built and sold profitably by local entrepreneurs and which are also aspirational and affordable for households.

We build sustainable, efficient sanitation markets that deliver high-quality products and services to improve customers’ health and dignity, while providing attractive business opportunities for local enterprises. This innovative approach relies on creating demand, bolstering local entrepreneurs’ capacity, and promoting a conducive enabling environment. Demand: Direct-to-household sales has ...
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We build sustainable, efficient sanitation markets that deliver high-quality products and services to improve customers’ health and dignity, while providing attractive business opportunities for local enterprises. This innovative approach relies on creating demand, bolstering local entrepreneurs’ capacity, and promoting a conducive enabling environment. Demand: Direct-to-household sales has become iDE’s trademark model for demand generation, allowing us to communicate critical information about the solutions we offer in markets where traditional information flows can be very weak. Our unique processes ensure that sales agents are successful in activating demand for improved WASH products and services. Supply: Local enterprises play a central role in meeting the demand for high-quality sanitation solutions. We recruit local entrepreneurs who are interested in building their business while making a positive impact on their community. We then arm our partners with production and service-delivery training, business coaching, ongoing advisory services, and quality control and monitoring. Enabling Environment: To create sustainable market ecosystems, it’s essential to get buy-in from stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as financial and technical support from funders and national government entities. As such, we build a business case for private-sector investment in WASH markets, while leveraging our knowledge base to inform policy and funding discussions.
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MLC Vanguard
  
iDE has sold over a million toilets, including over 400k in Bangladesh and 300k in Cambodia, where we're approaching full rural coverage in 7 provinces. But over 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation, and we have much more to achieve.

Focus Areas:

Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Sanitation, Human Centered Design and 1 MoreSEE ALL

Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Sanitation, Human Centered Design and EntrepreneurshipSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal and 3 MoreSEE ALL

Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and GhanaSEE LESS

6
Countries Implemented In
5,350,000
Customers
1,175
Employees
$78,025,615
Funds Raised to Date

Problem

Diarrheal disease causes more deaths in children under five than malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV combined. Due to widespread market failures, rural communities often have poor access to safe drinking water and sanitation and hygiene products. Compounding the problem are weak supply chains, unaffordable products, poor last-mile infrastructure, and a lack of awareness of the importance of sanitation. Local sellers don’t see a market, and potential buyers don’t see the value in a quality toilet.

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Solution

Our work in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) aims to increase quality of life by providing access to improved products and services. We believe this is best accomplished by using human-centered design principles to understand the needs of our target customers and businesses and identify the market gaps preventing them from meeting those needs. We then build sustainable markets that are capable of delivering sanitation solutions and the health and dignity benefits that come with them.

Target Beneficiaries

iDE’s mission since the 1980s has been to serve the rural poor, and that ethos remains at the core of our WASH work today. The potential market for high-quality WASH products and services is enormous: in just the six countries where we currently operate, the rural population totals roughly 300 million people. In many of these countries, less than a quarter of people in rural areas have access to sanitation that can help keep them and their families healthy and safe.

Mission and Vision

iDE's mission is to create income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households. This extends to our sanitation marketing work, which helps households to avert lost income and wellbeing resulting from diarrheal disease by ensuring access to improved household sanitation. iDE believes that every family deserves a toilet, and our vision is to achieve this not only in the countries we work in but globally, whether ourselves or by influencing other actors in the sector.

Competitive Advantage

Traditional approaches to sanitation rely on negative emotional and cognitive levers. like shame and disgust, to motivate people to invest in better sanitation conditions. In contrast, we dive deep into customers’ desires and pain points to understand what drives them to make investments and change their behavior. We then tailor products and promotional strategies to harness these motivations, which often include a desire to be seen as modern and prosperous. The sanitation sector has also often relied on households to construct their own toilets. While this is a relatively inexpensive option, it also results in poor quality products that lead to low usage, and can even disincentivize families from investing in sanitation in the future. We focus on building the capacity and strength of local businesses to deliver high-quality, durable products to their communities, which ultimately results in higher usage and an increased willingness to maintain and make new investments in sanitation.
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted1,985,279

The Team Behind the Innovation

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Sep 2015
New Country Implemented In
Ghana
Jan 2012
New Country Implemented In
Ethiopia
Jan 2011
New Country Implemented In
Nepal
Jan 2007
New Country Implemented In
Cambodia
Jan 2002
New Country Implemented In
Vietnam