This program is based on a demand-driven approach to addressing sanitation challenges in informal urban settlements in four countries – Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu. Live & Learn's Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) teams have facilitated the establishment of community-based sanitation enterprises to provide affordable toilets and other sanitation products to families in peri-urban informal settlements in Kavieng and Kimbe in PNG, Suva in Fiji, Port Vila in Vanuatu, and Honiara in Solomon Islands. Different types of toilets, hand-washing facilities and other hygiene products including soap and toilet paper are sold by the sanitation enterprises. Tailored business plans based on market research conducted by Live & Learn and our partner International Water Centre were drafted in the first phase of the program. The enterprises are developing financial skills for sustain their business in the mid and long term.
The project commenced in 2015 and is funded by the Australian government through the Civil Society WASH Fund. Training is provided in toilet design and construction, financial management, team work, leadership and the importance of considering gender issues in the provision of sanitation services. The sanitation enterprises have overcome many challenges, from navigating the complexities of company legal registration in each country, to securing land for the construction of sanitation parks to demonstrate the different models of toilets available for purchase.
The sanitation marketing approach used by Live & Learn in this project includes hygiene promotion using social marketing methods. The market research conducted at the beginning of the project informs how key messages can be shared in the community to promote reasons for families to own their own toilets, and to emphasise the importance of washing hands with soap.
Live & Learn is also implementing a WASH in Schools advocacy program with local schools in the areas where community sanitation enterprises are established. These partner schools work with Live & Learn to analyse the gaps in their provision of water and sanitation services to students and teachers, and then develop action plans to respond to the gaps. The schools have formed WASH Committees to care for maintenance of toilets and hand-washing facilities. Teachers have participated in hygiene training, and students have formed WASH Clubs and conducted advocacy activities on the importance of hand-washing and keeping school toilets clean.