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I recently took over a new project in which a SaniMart was constructed. It has not operated for 2 years. I need to operationalise the market. How can I do this?

I have not seen many countries where SaniMarts as an approach have had a lot of success (at least in Africa) - few SaniMarts I have seen reviewed have contributed more than 2 or 3% of latrines sales. However, I hope that you can prove me wrong!

The premise of a SaniMart is a shop or centre where consumers come to see product options. However because of distances to be traveled it can be difficult to attract enough customers. In urban areas SaniMarts have a higher chance of success because they depend on a high density population, and a mobile population. In addition the products they hold need to be responsive to consumers wants and needs (so you need to have done the necessary research into your consumer base). Just as a clothes shop needs to stock clothes of a fashion and style that local customers aspire to want and wear, the same is true of a SaniMart. The next thing is that those products have to be a price point for the customer base that you are targeting. It goes back to the basics of sanitation marketing (product, price, promotion and place). So people need to know about the existence of a SaniMart. However, you need to put yourself in the consumer's shoes - is it easier for them to come to the SaniMart to purchase a latrine or is it easier for them to get one from a local mason in their village or neighborhood, or construct one themselves? Addressing these questions will help you to think through how best to target the SaniMart and operationalise the market.

Another thing to consider would be carrying out a supply chain study or value chain study in your area to see whether the SaniMart is the right entry point or whether in fact, it would be better to provide assistance higher up the supply chain (or maybe even lower down the supply chain). Thinking through the correct business model for the goals you want to achieve is a very important part of the sanitation marketing approach you want to take.

Answer thanks to:

Yolande Coombes

Yolande Coombes has more than 20 years experience in public health, behavior change and evaluation. She gained her PhD in Public Health from the University of London. She has held academic positions at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and College of Medicine in Malawi. As a consultant she has worked on topics on a number of communicable and non-communicable diseases. She has worked for both Population Services International and Marie Stopes International providing technical social marketing, behavior change, franchising and M&E support. In 2007 she took up a position as a specialist consultant in sanitation marketing and hygiene with WSP and became a staff member in 2010 responsible for leading WSP’s sanitation and hygiene work in Africa, including task managing the AfricaSan 3 conference in 2011.

Comments: 4

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