What have we learned from the research of the Impact Centre Erasmus (ICE) on interventions in the area of sanitation?

Improved sanitation facilities are an important component of any effective WASH program.  A lack of them causes direct exposure to faecal pathogens. A major challenge that is faced in sanitation programmes however, is scaling up so that an entire community uses improved sanitation facilities, so-called ‘Total Sanitation’. A community needs to be completely ‘open defecation free’ to achieve the desired health benefits, such as a decrease in the occurrence of diarrhoea and stunting.

Additionally, the availability of WASH is important not only in the household, but also in every other context of a person’s life, such as at the work place and at school. Unless the motivation is really high, behaviours are unlikely to change if sanitary facilities are not available.

What does this mean for Max Foundation?
In providing improved sanitation facilities for the whole community and reach full coverage, Max Foundation’s approach is to implement sustainable market models. First, we create a demand within communities. This is combined with encouraging entrepreneurs to supply demand-based sanitation products and services. As we aim to completely end open defecation, we use data from community support groups to gather information on sanitation coverage.