Project Lead(s): Stuart Taylor
iDE, a Winnipeg based non-profit organization that supports business opportunities in the developing world, will work with Nepali small business owners and local entrepreneurs to scale up the production, marketing and sale of simple latrines, using a novel approach successfully demonstrated in Cambodia and Nepal: marketing simple, low-cost toilets as a status symbol and sanitation as an affordable source of pride.
“The traditional approach – standard public health messages coupled with giveaway programs that sideline local businesses – is not working”, says Stu Taylor, iDE’s Director of Performance Measurement. “Our experience shows that when you make sanitation affordable and desirable for users – and profitable for businesses – it just takes off.” iDE’s marketing approach is complemented by training for small-scale local producers and entrepreneurs to produce and sell simple-design, low-cost latrines, easily installed within a few hours. Profitability will encourage other entrepreneurs to develop new designs to attract even more customers.
“When people see the toilet’s attractive design and how easy it is to keep clean, this has become a product that people actually aspire to,” says iDE Nepal Country Director Luke Colavito. “We’ve already seen that, once a few people buy these toilets, their neighbours feel a need to keep up and buy one too, generating more sales.”
Thanks to a $1 million Grand Challenges Canada grant, iDE has leveraged an additional $1.2 million through partnerships with UNICEF and other donor investments. Over the next three years, iDE aims to facilitate the production and sale of 100,000 toilets, improving the lives of an estimated 500,000 people in Nepal, while demonstrating a viable model to tackle this urgent public health crisis. Some 2.5 billion people worldwide lack adequate sanitation and hygiene, resulting in extensive health problems. Diarrhea, for example, is the world’s second leading cause of death among children under five – 1.5 million each year.