Funded by Denmark, the pilot in An Giang – a collaboration between Ministry of Health (MoH), An Giang Center for Preventive Medicine (CPM), and the IDE – is the first attempt to determine what it takes for the public sector to adopt and use this approach. The workshop marked the start of a joint effort to document the activities and lessons of the sanitation marketing pilot and share them in a rural sanitation marketing manual for the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam.
Vietnam is winding up the second phase of its national target program in rural water supply and sanitation (RWSS-NTP) at the end 2010. As the program heads towards a new phase, how to bring sanitation to the rural poor remains one of the lingering challenges.
According to Government of Vietnam monitoring reports, more than 48% of Vietnam’s rural population still lacked access to basic sanitation at the end of 2008, a number which is even higher among the rural poor. ‘How can we do better in the next phase of the program,’ is the question that the Government of Vietnam is asking itself and other RWSS sector stakeholders these days.
To help find useful answers to this question, the Embassy of Denmark is supporting efforts to harvest sanitation promotion lessons learned in RWSS-NTP2. One of such efforts was a workshop recently held in Long Xuyen, An Giang province, to kick off a process to document the province’s work to pilot sanitation marketing.
Sanitation marketing is one of several innovative approaches to sanitation promotion, which have been piloted during RWSS-NTP2. The approach, which relies on commercial marketing techniques, has been shown to be an effective method to motivate and help people to build household toilets. It was originally conceived of and piloted in Vietnam by the NGO International Development Enterprises (IDE) with the support of Danida in the early 2000s. Until recently, however, sanitation marketing was exclusively used by NGOs in their work.