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Making sure the supply meets the demand

Following an excerpt of a Dutch article from the website of the FUSP project explaining why and how the project is focussing on improving small sanitation businesses.

To actually achieve sustainable sanitation in the cities where FUSP is active it is not enough to restrict yourself to improving the capacity of the municipalities to perform their duties and to awareness raising of the local population on the importance of good sanititation. It is very important that there are local businesses present that are capbable of providing these necessary services and products around sanitation. Demand needs to meet supply: If the citizens of the  FUSP cities are convinced they need a toilet they have to be able to buy that locally. Because that is the principle of the FUSP project. No subsidies but households have to pay for their sanitation facilities themselves as much as possible.

The past one and a half year FUSP has worked a lot on identifying so-called 'estaleiros', small local entrepreneurs that produce and install cement slab. FUSP has supported these local businesses with technical training to improve the quality of their product.

In the near future FUSP is planning on intensifying the support, particularly in the cities, Chimoio, Gondola, Manica and Beira who have been added in the second and third phase of the programme.

The principle behind this intensification is that the better the local entrepreneurs are capable of doing their work, the more sustainable the investments of the FUSP will be. Because while FUSP is a project that will end, the purpose of the businesses big or small is to continue to exist and if possible to even grow. So by investing in a strong entrepreneurship FUSP is investing in continuity and scale. 

With the involvement of local business consultants and WASTE the following activities are planned.

  • Inventory of present businesses small and big in the 3 cities. Not only ; estaleiros, but also pit latrine emptiers, contractors, composting companies, and the like
  • These businesses will be assessed and if suitable selected for support from the project.

The support entails more than only technical training, it also includes other aspects of entrepreneurship, varying from doing the accounts to  writing a businessplan, linking up with local banks and micro financers.

To make these contacts between sanitation businesses and banks possible WASTE is also talking with the banks. The sanitation sector is new to most financing institutes and  it is not easy to convince them that there are investment opportunities to be found there. Still WASTE can build upon experiences from other countries and hopes to be able to make them interested.