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How can we balance the need to not take a village-by-village approach with the need to generate enough demand in an area to make it commercially attractive to service that demand?

Local government leadership, from the province or district down to each village, must be engaged to mobilize community demand (as in CLTS) and create the local enabling environment in each community to link up demand (interested and willing households) to local partnering enterprises and providers, for example by holding community meetings to introduce endorsed suppliers and their products and services in the village, by following-up with individual household visits to check on the quality of construction and products from suppliers or make sure suppliers are paid for their services. NGOs often play a key role in supporting local government to play this facilitation role, for example through training on the use of new tools and materials for mobilization (e.g., CLTS), consumer product education, monitoring, and oversight of local enterprises.

On the supply-side, however, the scale of intervention often needs to be larger than a single village because partnering enterprises need to be profitable: they will likely need to cover multiple villages in reach enough new customers to generate adequate returns on their investment of time, cash, and effort. Here mass social marketing, social mobilization, and mass media campaigns can help generate awareness and demand more broadly than in one village at a time. Partner enterprises themselves also should be trained to use appropriate promotional and sales marketing techniques on their own and encouraged to “go where the customers can be found”, rather than being restricted within project village boundaries.

Answer thanks to:

Mimi Jenkins

Research Engineer in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California at Davis
Honorary lecturer in the Environmental Health Group at LSHTM

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