GSF programme hosts Sanitation Marketing workshop in Malawi

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To attain its vision of ensuring “Sanitation for All “, the Government of Malawi (GoM) has received a USD 5 million grant from the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) to reduce open defecation, increase access to improved sanitation and ensure that people adopt and use safe hygiene practices. Through implementation across the districts of Balaka, Phalombe, and Chikhwawa in the south of Malawi, Ntchisi and Khotakota in the centre and Rumphi in the north, the Government seeks to achieve its mission of “ensuring that all people in Malawi own and have access to improved sanitation facilities, practice safe hygiene, re-use and/or recycling of waste for the sustainable management of the Environment and Socio-economic Development”.

To achieve its objectives, the GSF programme in Malawi has been carefully designed to utilize a different number of initiatives and approaches including Sanitation marketing, which is an emerging field with relatively few organizations and practitioners in Malawi.  With funding from the GSF, eleven organizations (Sub grantees) with diverse experience and expertise in sanitation and hygiene promotion have thus far been engaged in Malawi. Recognizing the need to broaden the skills and knowledge of the implementing Sub grantees, district councils and extension workers a three-day National Sanitation and Hygiene workshop took place from 15-17 February 2012.

The workshop was well attended by some 45 people, including GSF sub-grantees and local Government representatives from targeted districts in Malawi.  Structured around training, sharing and planning, the key aims of the workshop included:  imparting knowledge and skills on how to plan and implement sanitation marketing campaigns, providing linkages between sanitation marketing and wider sanitation approaches and guidance for effective monitoring and evaluation of sanitation marketing interventions, and; to create an understanding of sanitation marketing within the GSF programme and wider sector in Malawi. In addition, sharing relevant experiences in Social and Sanitation Marketing from the Private Sector, was also an important objective - further reinforced by presentations from a number of external speakers including AirTel, PSI and UNICEF. “The people targeted by sanitation programmes are often the same people that AirTel is trying to reach in rural Malawi.  As in commercial marketing, it is important for those implementing sanitation marketing to properly understand who their customers are, what they want and how to engage them” , Enwell Kadango, the Marketing Director from AirTel Malawi said during a presentation by AirTel.

Amongst the key messages, the need to focus on product, price, place and promotion- known as the four “P’s” in Sanitation Marketing was emphasized at the workshop.

For more information on the Global Sanitation Fund in Malawi please click here.