Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Time to Start Unclogging!

Despite growing attention to sanitation being paid by donors and governments, and the declaration by the United Nations that access to basic sanitation is a human right, progress remains slow.

In an effort to get things moving (pun intended), on Tuesday, February 18, the first ever Unclogging the Blockages in Sanitation workshop commenced in Kampala, Uganda. (The sector knows no limit when it comes to puns.) Practitioners, experts, businessmen and academics alike are coming together to identify the main challenges they are facing to building sustainable markets for sanitation products and services.

Why markets? Research conducted by many of the development organizations in attendance has found that in most areas where sanitation coverage is low, households want to buy a toilet, but cannot afford one that meets their needs. The solution lies in designing innovative business models, identifying entrepreneurs, creating affordable products and supporting sales and marketing to build up markets for sanitation. Organizations have done this for years with products like water filters, mosquito nets and condoms. Why should toilets be any different?

While there are increasing investments in sanitation, progress remains slow. This week’s gathering of over 170 participants began with Day 1: Understanding the Blockages. The days that follow are dedicated to a collaborative effort to determine the best approaches to remove them. By working with our partners to leverage each other’s strengths, the workshop participants can increase their relevance and address the global sanitation crisis efficiently and effectively.

You can follow the exciting developments from the workshop on here and on Twitter, simply search for the hashtag #unclogit. Join in the action by sending your questions and comments using #unclogit, and keep checking back here daily on the blog to see how we are unclogging the blockages!

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