Seven women living in the informal settlements outside Suva were participants in a recent refresher media training facilitated by Live & Learn Fiji. The women are Community Sanitation Marketing Officers for the Community Based Sanitation Market (CBSM) a partnership business that was established with the goal of providing affordable and appropriate sanitation solutions to informal settlements between Lami and Nausori.
The training focused on how to write press releases for mass media that would catch the attention of the public. Additionally, participants built on their existing marketing skills with tips on how to bring up their products in daily conversations with their neighbours and wider community.
Market research carried out by the CBSM in six informal settlements showed that 274 households do not own a latrine. The main barrier to these households owning a latrine is the cost. The CBSM is unique in that it offers a variety of toilets sold at different prices and accepts partial payments so that every household, no matter their income, has access to a safe toilet. For the CBSM products to reach those who need them most, effective marketing is essential.
The refresher training involved a journalist from Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited (FBCL) leading discussions on the importance of knowing your skill set and knowing your product, how to engage journalists and how to write a press release. The main learning outcome was the importance of telling a story that consumers can relate to. One participant shared a story about a lady who, through the CBSM, had finally been able to afford to buy her own toilet after having to share her neighbour’s toilet for many years.
“The training was really helpful, especially to help further understand the CBSM products and how to confidently talk to my neighbours of them” – Susana, 54, CBSM Health Officer.
Susana has also attended a previous plumbing training and was able to put her new skills to use in directing her brothers and husband on how to fix the plumbing around her house.
Media Training is an initiative of the Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing & Innovation Program funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Aid & Trade.