iDE Global

iDE starts work in Madagascar, aiming to improve sanitation in three cities using market-based solutions

The USAID-funded project will power Malagasy entrepreneurs to develop and deliver effective sanitation solutions that improve public health outcomes and drive economic growth

Adding to our commitment to ending global poverty, iDE (International Development Enterprises) is working on an exciting new challenge: improving sanitation in three of Madagascar’s major cities, where one in six residents practices open defecation, and a third of the population uses unimproved toilets.

Under a US$10 million project, called Dio Sera, which means “sanitation business” in Malagasy, iDE is leading a consortium of three INGOs and two local consulting firms, assembled to catalyze the transformation of sanitation markets in underserved urban neighborhoods, powering local business to restore dignity and improving health outcomes for the people who live there.

The 54-month project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will be implemented in the cities of Toamasina (also known as Tamatave), Fianarantsoa and Mahajanga (also known as Majunga).

Sarah Custer-Lalanne, iDE global WASH director, says progress in the local sanitation sector has flatlined, with rapid urbanization, lack of prioritization and low private sector investment leaving municipalities with inadequate infrastructure and services when it comes to water and sanitation.

21X9 Dio Sera Hero

“By creating a more supportive environment and providing targeted technical assistance, we can empower small-scale entrepreneurs to develop and deliver effective sanitation solutions that improve public health outcomes, drive economic growth and resilience in the face of climate and economic challenges,” says Custer-Lalanne.

Additionally, Custer-Lalanne says that addressing gender inequalities when it comes to access to finance and business opportunities will be crucial to ensure that women-led enterprises play a more significant role in the growth of the sanitation sector.

The Dio Sera consortium is led by iDE and includes WaterAid, Practica, GRET, Runway Consulting and Sango. The organizations will work together to implement five components to achieve the goals of the project. The five components include:

Component 1: Formative research and situational analysis will serve as the foundation, ensuring the project is grounded in local context and addresses areas of greatest need. (This component will be led by iDE using human-centered design, though all partners will contribute in their respective focus areas.)

Component 2: The project will work with the government to create a fund for sanitation solutions, addressing constraints inhibiting public and private investment. The project will also facilitate subsidies for vulnerable families. (This component will be led by consortium partner Runway Consulting.)

Component 3: Strengthening governance at the national and municipal levels, developing city plans and addressing identified weaknesses in laws, policies and regulations, particularly when it comes to improving regulations linked to fecal sludge management. (This component will be led by WaterAid.)

Component 4: Based on the research insights, the project will prototype and refine sanitation products that are affordable and desirable to customers. The project will focus on the whole sanitation value chain, with a strong focus on fecal sludge management. (This component will be led by GRET and Practica.)

Component 5: The project will activate demand by linking small scale sanitation enterprises with sales agents, leveraging iDE’s sanitation marketing model, which has been used successfully across the globe. Broad behavior change campaigns will also be rolled out. (This component will be led by iDE and Sango.)

About iDE

iDE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending poverty. We work in sectors including agriculture, sanitation, climate change resilience, and gender equality. iDE believes in powering small-scale entrepreneurs and building robust market ecosystems that lay the groundwork for low-income and marginalized people to prosper on their own terms. iDE has about 1,300 global staff across 12 countries in Africa, Asia and Central America.

Our work in the WASH sector spans five countries in Asia and Africa, where we implement a sanitation marking approach, designed to local contexts. Rather than providing handouts, sanitation marketing seeks to build sustainable, local markets for affordable, desirable latrines, by powering local entrepreneurs to produce and install latrines while sales agents go door-to-door educating householders about the importance of sanitation and selling them latrines. Since 2009, iDE has facilitated the sale of more than one million toilets globally.

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