Your Money At Work

iDE Initiatives

Nepal | Sanitation Marketing Scale Up

The challenge

In 2013, despite gradual improvements, less than 30% of households in Nepal’s Terai region had access to toilets. Significant investments in solutions have been made; however, diarrhea remains the second leading cause of death in children under five years of age.

The solution

iDE has developed a global reputation for sanitation marketing. Our approach helps local businesses produce and sell improved toilets using sound design principles, compelling marketing campaigns and effective sales teams. With support from our partners Grand Challenges Canada and UNICEF, the project team trained over 100 rural sales agents on sanitation messaging and sales presentation skills. These salespeople earn commission on the toilets they sell in rural communities through group and direct sales presentations. By the end of 2016, 80% of all latrine sales were made through sales agents.

Events such as the 2015 earthquake and more recent political unrest underscore the challenges of doing business in rural Nepal. However, the private sector is resilient and we have seen a dramatic rebound in sales as the situation improves. Despite setbacks, our local business partners sold over 38,000 toilets between April 2014 and November 2016.

Their success inspired other local businesses to sell another 37,500 toilets. We consider competition a great sign of a healthy, developing market and a desirable product. By the end of 2016, 58% of households in the region had an improved toilet, a dramatic improvement in three years.

start date | December 2013
end date | December 2016

scale (total number of individuals benefitting from a new toilet)

goal | 500,000
scale to date | 430,000
scale in 2016 | 250,000

impact (jobs created) | 800

Project undertaken with the financial support of Grand Challenges Canada and the Government of Canada.