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Sanitation demand and supply in Cambodia: Identifying Constraints to Increasing Sanitation Coverage

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WSP Fieldnote October 2008

This field note summarizes research from two studies undertaken in rural and peri-urban areas of Cambodia; one on the demand for latrines among consumers, and the other on the supply of latrines by the private sector. It provides discussion on the opportunity to increase latrine purchase and installation via market forces, and outlines the recommended interventions on both the demand and supply dimensions of the market to achieve this.

There is a strong demand for latrines among the Cambodian population, yet this demand remains mostly unrealized. While there is a functioning market for latrines, it is constrained by a strong preference for unaffordable top-end designs on the consumer side, and a limited ability to supply lower cost or upgradable latrines on the supply side.

These weaknesses can be addressed. It has been demonstrated through Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) efforts that the high-end design preference can be overcome and consumers will construct cheaper latrines if adequately motivated to do so. The supply side needs to be strengthened to provide for the cheapest and mid-range end of the market. The components of
cheaper designs are available. However, cheaper design options are not ‘packaged’ in a way that is obvious or easily accessible to consumers, nor with clear pricing information, nor in a way that maps out an upgrade path starting with a lower cost initial investment.

Developing market strategies that supply the required packaged information, products and services and that equally focus on demand creation to persuade consumers to consider alternate and more affordable options, may help turn stated demand into an actual acquisition and contribute to increased sanitation
coverage in the country.

Date: 24 November 2009