Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Day 2: Loosening the Bockages

After an information-packed day of presentations and discussions to better understand the current situation and learn from each other’s experience in markets for sanitation, Day 2, Loosening the Blockages took on an entirely different mood: it’s time to think outside the box, be innovative and apply the lessons we’ve learned to addressing the key blockages.  

The technology team prioritizes the challenges they'll address
Throughout Day 1, participants were encouraged to write down challenges they had identified during the presentations and panel discussions.  They then posted these challenges on flip charts placed around the room, based on the seven thematic areas: Finance, Business Models, Public Sector, Technology, Monitoring, Behavior Change and Intersectoral Links.  On the morning of Day 2, groups for each thematic area were given the task of cleaning up and whittling down the challenges identified by everyone in attendance, and to expand upon the best ideas.  This exercise was repeated throughout the day: brainstorm, then whittle, brainstorm, then whittle.   

After various exercises to get participants thinking quickly and innovatively, the final result was that each of the groups had taken the challenges identified in Day 1, prioritized them, and then developed a solution comprised of the key components.

The Intersectoral Team brainstorms their dream outcome
“Our goal is that one day every household will describe the bathroom as their favorite room of the house!” declared Yi Wei of International Development Enterprises (iDE) in Cambodia.  Groups were told to come up with catchy – sometimes wacky – headlines for their ideas, to dream big and believe in the workshop’s potential to spark real change within the sanitation sector. 

The activities of Day 2 were designed to harness the power of having so many distinct occupations, personalities and nationalities together in one place; to pull from the diversity of experiences to produce solutions that address markets for sanitation at a global, cross-sectoral level. 

Many of the solutions proposed call for better collaboration: more workshops, global networking, uniform monitoring standards, knowledge sharing and more involvement with the public sector.  From a 30-day challenge to design an end-to-end solution ready for scale, to the Global Sanitation Financing Alliance for donors to collaborate on financing for the consumer level, the solutions are both practical and aspirational.

Just like a toilet should be.

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