Guidance on market-based sanitation


This document was updated in 2021 to include three additional chapters on optimizing market interactions, expanding access to business finance, and market enablers.

One of the key programming approaches adopted in UNICEF’s Strategy for WASH (2016-2030) is to build sustainable markets for sanitation goods and services. Market-based sanitation (MBS) is defined as a development approach to improve sanitation in a country by building the sanitation market of goods and services for which the customer makes a full or partial monetary contribution (with savings and/or cash equivalents) toward the purchase, construction, upgrade, and/or maintenance of their toilet from the private sector. Governments and development partners can use MBS with other approaches (i.e. CLTS) to accelerate and sustain the sanitation goals in a country. 

This guidance aims to provide practitioners with simple, easy-to-follow and evidence-based resources to plan, design, implement and evaluate market-based sanitation interventions.  It provides examples from different contexts, offering tips and advice based on current evidence and experience. This guidance is designed to complement other guidance to ensure sanitation programmes are comprehensive and context specific. 

Much of the guidance draws from the global evidence base on rural sanitation though some aspects may be applicable in small towns or peri-urban environments. This guidance focuses on designing a coherent set of MBS strategies to directly engage with businesses and their household customers to build sanitation markets within sanitation programmes, primarily but not exclusively in rural areas, with the aim of achieving sustained household and community-wide sanitation outcomes.

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