Implementing a Sanitation Marketing and Hygiene Promotion Project

Funded by World Bank

Blantyre Water Board (BWB) and Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) implemented a Sanitation Marketing and Hygiene Promotion Project with financial assistance from the World Bank through Ministry of Water Development and Irrigation’s National Water Development Programme. The two water boards developed a Sanitation Marketing and Hygiene Promotion Strategy, Marketing Plan, Integrated Communication and Public Relations (PR) Plans and key sanitation and hygiene messages for effective delivery of water supply and sanitation services and expanding sanitation and hygiene promotion services to all Peri Urban Areas (PUAs) and low income areas of the cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe. The targeted areas were Likuni/Chigwirizano/Ntchentche, Lumbadzi, Mchenzi, Area 38, Area 23, Chiuzira and Area 44 in Lilongwe and Nguludi/Bangwe, Mpemba/Chadzunda, Chileka/Lunzu, Chingumula/Bvumbwe and Pensulo in Blantyre.

The two Water Boards hired Hygiene Village Project (HVP) in association with TM Associates to implement the project on the ground. Prior to the actual project activities implementation, the implementing NGO carried out a baseline survey and mapping with the aim of collecting information regarding demography, sanitation status, hygiene conditions, demand and supply chain, challenges, operation and maintenance of sanitation facilities.

It was observed that almost all the houses used latrines. Open defecation was minimal. The most common types of latrines were traditional unimproved pit latrines (about 60% in Lilongwe and 95% in Blantyre). Sharing of latrines (15% to 30% of households) was also found to be common. The survey also revealed that many household understood good hygiene practices and were willing to invest in sanitation and hygiene. However the drawback was in the cost of an improved latrine considering that most of the households were poor. Presence of masons though sporadic and not organised was also noted in the LIAs. The baseline study also informed the implementing NGO that most households did not practice hand washing using soap or other cleaning agents at the five critical times. This was also evidenced by the lack of hand washing facilities in most of the latrines.

A total of 137 masons, 109 sanitation promoters and 129 HSAs were identified and trained in the 12 LIAs of Blantyre and Lilongwe cities. This gave a total of 375 sanitation and hygiene players trained against a target of 250. The masons were trained in latrine and associated sanitary facilities construction, business management, marketing and bookkeeping and hygiene promotion. The masons formed part of the supply chain mechanism in the target LIAs and were responsible for carrying out sanitation businesses. The sanitation promoters were trained in good hygiene practices and monitoring of project deliverables. The promoters assisted in promotion of good hygiene practices in the target areas and monitoring of project deliverables.

The implementing NGO with support from the Ad Agent carried out two rounds of Sanitation and Hygiene promotional campaigns in all the LIAs. Each round had 24 campaigns (two for each LIA). An estimated number of 37480 people were reached with sanitation and hygiene messages through the open campaigns. The objective of the campaigns was to motivate communities in the targeted LIAs to construct improved latrines such as traditional improved latrine, VIP latrine, ecosan latrines and to practice good hygiene in order to enhance their own health. The campaign also emphasized on reaching out to the poor who did not have latrines to at least construct a latrine to move away from OD and those who had substandard latrines to improve the status of their latrine to improved latrine. The campaigns were also used as a platform to advertise and promote masons who were carrying out sanitation businesses in the target LIAs through construction of latrines and selling of hygiene and sanitation related products like drop hole covers, slabs, hand washing facilities, and other building materials. The second round of campaigns also emphasized the adoption of cement sand screed floors because of their relative low cost and village banking as a means of mobilizing financial resources to construct or upgrade latrines.

During the early days of the project the business of the masons was very slow, mainly because most households are poor and that the masons were not well known to the communities. To promote and boost the masons business the NGO constructed sanitation centres (which were branded by the Ad agent) and carried out a second round of sanitation and hygiene campaigns. During these campaigns, the services and products of the masons were highlighted. On the campaigns, more emphasis was put on the cement sand screed which was found to be cost effective. In addition the Ad agent carried out radio programmes where the masons were featured. A total of 1078 improved latrines have been built or upgraded by the masons. Of the 1078 improved latrines, 545 are in Lilongwe and 533 are in Blantyre.

73 village banks (40 in Blantyre and 33 in Lilongwe) were established. These village banks have 1653 members (1049 members in Blantyre and 604 members Lilongwe). Through village banks 691 latrines in Blantyre and 379 latrines in Lilongwe were upgraded (to improved latrine through screed cementing of the floor) or constructed to improved latrine status. In addition 59 slabs (8 slabs in Blantyre and 51 slabs in Lilongwe) were casted through village banks.

A total of 3578 improved latrines which is below the project target of 4000 were constructed or basic latrines upgraded despite establishing village banks, promoting cement sand screed floors and carrying out a second round of promotional campaigns. This is so because most of the households are poor or are unwilling to have improved latrines. The poor households would require subsidy for them to have an improved latrine while the unwilling ones will require more encouraging in form of mentoring and campaigns. To mitigate this, a third round of sanitation and hygiene campaigns were conducted from 10th to 14th August in Blantyre and 17th to 23rd August in Lilongwe. It is expected that this should trigger more households to construct new improved latrines or upgrade existing basic latrines to improved latrines. The target of 4000 latrines may be reached by October 30 when the project is closing.

HVP is more than willing to assist the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development through its sanitation promoters to monitor and gather data on additional latrines being constructed or improved by the project closing period.

In addition to the 3578 improved latrines, 622 basic latrines have been constructed by households who were initially either defecating openly or sharing with other households. This brings a total of 4200 household latrines which have been affected by the project benefitting a total of 22800 people. In addition, 2718 hand washing facilities have been installed.

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Oct 2020