Since 2009, WaterSHED has worked to build thriving local markets for WASH products and services in Southeast Asia. This year, we began testing the rural sanitation market in Cambodia to see if our Hands-Off approach had prepared it for long term sustainability.
The early indications are positive. Toilet producers have become increasingly capable to plan, invest, and manage their business. On the demand side, nearly all toilet sales in target areas during the first six months of the year were sold independently of our staff (more on that below). And despite WaterSHED’s reduced footprint, the volume of toilet sales has not declined.
These results are promising for the long term viability of the rural toilet market in Cambodia, and we will watch to see if the trends continue.
Several challenges remain ahead. Over the next three years, WaterSHED will focus on the system that supports these increasingly dynamic WASH markets. We are committed to making them more inclusive and sustainable: mainstreaming our women’s economic empowerment program so that women are better represented in the market; institutionalizing our leadership development program for local officials so that government owns the initiative; and facilitating more effective collaboration in the Cambodian rural sanitation sector so that we’re better positioned to reach the goal of universal sustainable sanitation by 2025.