Pacific WASH: Our Approach

The WPSMIP aims to improve community health and wellbeing by increasing access to sanitation and hygiene services in peri-urban areas.

Peri-urban settlements often fall through service delivery gaps due to their location outside of official town boundaries. The program will strengthen sanitation markets, improve health outcomes, and promote gender equality, empowerment and disability inclusion by enhancing connectivity between supply chain actors and creating demand for and increasing the provision of appropriate products and services, with an emphasis on safe and accessible sanitation and hygiene solutions for women, girls and people with a disability. In doing so, the WPSMIP will contribute to the primary development outcomes of the Australian Aid program: strengthening private sector development and enabling human development.

To understand social systems and the different needs and aspirations for improved sanitation and hygiene in peri-urban areas, Live & Learn will conduct extensive and participatory market research, working closely with communities and local entrepreneurs. This will inform the development of business models that respond to unique opportunities and challenges for sanitation marketing in the Western Pacific.

Through ongoing training and technical assistance, Live & Learn will support the establishment of community-based sanitation enterprises that can create sustainable livelihood opportunities for both men and women, plan for business development, and respond to local demand. Live & Learn will also work closely with enabling actors to create a supportive environment for these enterprises, by strengthening supply chains, developing policies and standards for improved service delivery without subsidies, and enhancing demand creation and hygiene promotion.

Modelling and Testing Sanitation Marketing and Hygiene Behavioural Change in the Western Pacific

Sanitation marketing remains relatively untested in the Pacific, where the culture of small business is not dominant and traditional social structures do not encourage small, privately-owned individual or family enterprise. Live & Learn trialled sanitation marketing in rural communities in the first phase of the Civil Society WASH Fund and a number of challenges emerged, including small market size, difficulties accessing supplies, affordability of products for local consumers with subsistence livelihoods, and the sustainability of business models in this context. The shift in focus to peri-urban areas presents both opportunities and new challenges, including more diverse and complex social systems, and increased interaction with government, private sector and other actors.

With this in mind, the WPSMIP has adopted a phased implementation strategy, to rapidly increase knowledge about the best approach to sanitation marketing in target communities. In the first phase of the WPSMIP, business models based on extensive research will be pilot tested and continuously improved through a process of participatory action research and ongoing monitoring and evaluation, before being scaled-up in the second phase of the program. The action research process will be supported by the exchange of knowledge and lessons learned between Live & Learn country offices and the Australian Development Research Award (ADRA) project on Water and Sanitation Markets in the Pacific: Understanding Demand and Fostering Sustainable WASH Marketplaces, led by the International WaterCentre and Monash University in Australia. In the second phase of WPSMIP, successful models will be replicated and extended. With time, ongoing support, and an inclusive, cooperative approach better aligned with the cultural systems and social structures of the Pacific, Live & Learn expects that community-based sanitation enterprises can flourish. Keep tuned!


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