Course 4: Non-technical aspects of ecosan


Unit 1: Financial and Business Issues

Expected Study Load : 8 hours.


We all agree that installing sanitation solutions will only be sustainable if all aspects are respected: social acceptance, institutional issues, economical issues are equally important as technical aspects. But how can we achieve these forms of sustainability? In this Course, we will address non-technical aspects of ecosan. And in this Unit, we will tackle the first 2: financial and business issues. In many cases, it is not so much the question how much things cost, but rather: how can they be financed.

Often, it is the poor people who pay most for water and sanitation. As they cannot afford a piped water connection, they have to pay for water in canisters and that is typically much more expensive per liter. Same goes for sanitation, when you have to pay per toilet use.

Micro-crediting is now taking off big time, sometimes in very interesting set-ups. In Uganda, on the border with Tanzania, we have visited a women's group making their money with selling home made clothing, food, bags from recycled material, et cetera. From the money they made, a percentage was going literally in a treasury with a big padlock. When they had saved enough money, they would build a latrine for one of them. After a few more weeks or months, the next person got one. And so they were all contributing to each others toilets. Through special arrangements with local masons they were able to negotiate a good price. In this way, you can achieve big things with only little money, and without loans.

In this unit we will zoom in on terminology, concepts and examples to stimulate and enable financing for sanitation.

Learning Objectives:

After completing this unit, you will:

  • know the meaning of capacity-to-pay and rationale for advocating cross-subsidies to pay for sanitation services
  • know how to perform a cost estimate for an ecosan system and how to compare costs of different options (importance of using either NPV or annualised capital costs)
  • know the basic characteristics of social marketing
  • understand why people do or do not buy toilets and how this can be influenced (e.g. social marketing, awareness raising, demand for sanitation)
  • realise the crucial importance of creating demand for sanitation

Last modified: Monday, 20 June 2011, 10:38 PM