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Business Development Services for Sanitation Enterprises in Cambodia

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Despite significant progress in increasing sanitation uptake in Cambodia, 60% of the country’s rural population still practices open defecation. Both the Government of Cambodia and a range of development agencies are working to address the issue. Development organisations are present in many provinces (15 of 25), and major achievements have been made in expanding access to sanitation in recent years. A commonly employed approach is sanitation marketing, working through small-scale enterprises to deliver products and services in rural areas. Developing a sanitation market for the remaining rural population and reaching full sanitation coverage by 2025, as envisioned in current policy, requires thinking at scale. Thinking at scale is necessary to accelerate and sustain access efficiently, that is, at a reduced cost per person. It can also promote synergies and leveraging of opportunities, avoid duplication and unnecessary competition, and support economies of scale.

To date, varying approaches to sanitation marketing and enterprise support have been implemented by development agencies, each of which have its merits as well as lessons learnt and limitations. This situation presents a timely opportunity sector to step back from these specific experiences to view the sector as a whole, and draw on these experiences to collaboratively consider business development services (BDS) to sanitation enterprises at scale.

This research aimed to support government and development partners to discuss and consider opportunities for a collaborative approach to design BDS at scale. The research built on existing
studies and knowledge within the sector and followed a participatory and qualitative approach. Research activities and methods were conducted between December 2016 and May 2017. These

  • Desktop review of global literature on BDS mechanisms
  • Interviews with key sanitation sector stakeholders (8 interviews) 
  • In-country facilitated stakeholder workshop (14 participants)
  • Interviews with sanitation entrepreneurs (7 enterprises)


Date: 4 January 2018