One of the many constant debates I have with myself is how to improve sanitation conditions for the rural and urban poor. Numerous incentive schemes and methods are in action throughout the world including grants, subsidies, use of by-laws, and education. While there may be anecdotal evidence of each methods’ merits, very few studies have actually demonstrated true sustained improvement in sanitation facilities and proper use. Wading through all of the options and trying to understand what has been done before can be a painful task for someone just jumping into this field. Thankfully the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) just released a new primer, Public Funding for Sanitation.
As this is a primer, there is not too much new information for those who have studied this issue, but this does have the types of schemes well laid out and described in a concise manner. I would recommend reading the case study boxes, which talk about a few programs I had never heard about, and the subsidy type definitions. In the end they talk about “Smart Financing” (a really nice buzz word, huh?) of sanitation which simply implies that one should use their brain before launching a massive sanitation scheme – duh. This really is a difficult issue to deal with and this primer should add to the discourse. Happy reading!