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Summary of sanitation lending and product delivery models. Water for People Microfinance allows middle- and lower-income households to invest in desirable sanitation products, so that public funding can be freed up to reach the poorest, according to Water for People (WfP). In a new report (1) WfP reviews their experiences in piloting various lending models in seven countries: Bolivia, Guatemala, India, Malawi, Peru, Rwanda and Uganda. The report provides lessons and recommendations for donors wishing to engage in sanitation microfinancing.

The four key recommendations are:
1. Think like a business
2. Support lending institutions based on the microfinance climate and capacity needs
3. Build an autonomous sanitation microfinance market
4. Track progress and lessons

The report is part of WfP’s Sanitation as a Business (SaaB) program, funded by a Gates Foundation grant. Many thanks to Blake McKinlay from iDE for suggesting the topic for this issue and for sharing an interesting study in Cambodia on determining the impact microfinance has on the uptake of latrines. Other resources include a justpublished Water for the People review of its microfinance experiences in seven countries, a SHARE blog post on microfinance issues, and country studies from Ghana, Kenya, among others.


Understanding Willingness to Pay for Sanitary Latrines in Rural Cambodia: Findings from Four Field Experiments of iDE Cambodia’s Sanitation

Marketing Program, 2013. N Shah,
Given the low willingness to pay for latrines with cash, efforts to sell latrines at market price without any financing mechanism will lead to continued low penetration. The major implication of this study is that offering microfinance loans for latrines will dramatically increase uptake of latrines, while also making distribution significantly cheaper per latrine sold. Large-scale efforts to offer financing packages for latrines should be aggressively pursued in rural Cambodia and have the potential to increase latrine coverage from the current national rural level of 20 percent to 60 percent.

Evaluating the Potential of Microfinance for Sanitation in Tanzania, 2013. S Trémolet, SHARE

Microfinance could be used in two main ways to promote access to sustainable sanitation services: by enabling households to spread out the costs of investing in household sanitation solutions (such as latrines and septic tanks), thereby improving the affordability of such investments and by supporting the development of abroad range of sanitation service providers, including masons, communal toilet block operators, or pit latrine emptiers.

Improved Sanitation and its Impact on Children: An Exploration of Sanergy, 2013. H Esper.

This child impact case study examines the positive impacts of improved sanitation on households and communities,using Sanergy’s experience in Kenya. This for-profit enterprise operates franchises in Nairobi’s slums and provides modular sanitation facilities and entrepreneurial training.

Market-Based Financing: WSP/RWSN Webinar Series, 2013.

This webinar explores experiences with using local banks to provide commercial or semi-commercial loans for the construction, expansion, and major rehabilitation of rural and small town water schemes, using cases from Kenya and Uganda.

(1) Chatterley, C. et al, 2013. Microfinance as a potential catalyst for improved sanitation: a synthesis of Water for People’s sanitation lending experiences in seven countries. Denver, CO, USA: Water for People. Available at: <http://www.waterforpeople.org/assets/files/sanitationmicrofinance.pdf> To learn how best to facilitate sanitation microfinance, Water for People has been piloting various lending models with diverse partners in seven countries (Bolivia, Guatemala, India, Malawi, Peru, Rwanda, and Uganda). This report aims to synthesize these experiences to inform general guidance for initiating and improving programs, providing lessons learned and recommendations.

Source: Christie Chatterley et al., Microfinance as a potential
catalyst for improved sanitation, Water for People, 27 Dec 2013




Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene March-April 2017 Vol.12 No.2