Total sanitation as a business and community action in Bangladesh and elsewhere

by Urs Heierli and Jaime Frias with inputs from Soma Ghosh Moulik and Shafiul Azad Ahmed

The facts are known : every hour more than 300 children die from diarrhoeal diseases due to lack of proper sanitation and access to safe drinking water. There is, however, good news, from Bangladesh. This small but densely populated country, once seen as a basket case, is about to teach the world a lesson: it will achieve total sanitation by the year 2010, fifteen years ahead of the deadline set by the Millennium Development Goals.

Two intelligent strategies are responsible for this admirable progress :

  • a) emphasis on the demand side with a strong nationwide campaign for total sanitation and banning open defecation very effectively, and
  • b) by stimulating a vibrant private sector of some 10,000 small workshops that produce sanitary latrines of different types and at quite affordable prices.

This publication analyses the secrets behind the sanitation miracle in Bangladesh and describes the methodologies of marketing and of total sanitation. It also looks at experiences in other countries ( Ethiopia, India, Switzerland and Vietnam ) and provides a methodological help for practitioners who want to promote and implement successful market-driven sanitation strategies.

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