So we can generate products which truly meet the needs of on-site sanitation users, and which they will want to buy and can afford, we’re learning as much as possible about their attitudes to sanitation.
By talking to users in widely varying cultural and physical contexts, we’re building a picture of potential consumers in our target markets and what motivates their decisions about sanitation. What are their current facilities? How do they feel about them? What problems do they encounter? What do they aspire to?
Consumer Research Reports
We’ve carried out comprehensive research in contrasting urban and rural settings in Vietnam and Tanzania. Find out more by downloading the resulting reports below:
Full pits and little space: Urban Tanzania
Our research found full latrine pits to be an important problem because of the expense and inconvenience of emptying or replacing them. They’re also associated with insects and smells.
An additive to prevent or slow pit-filling would be attractive as a means of reducing the cost of emptying or replacing the pit. Ultimately, people aspire to septic tanks because they’re seen as longer lasting and easier to empty and clean, with no smell, no insects and no need to see content. But they have problems too: higher water use, high emptying costs and access difficulties for vacuum trucks.
We’ll have to dig another: Rural Tanzania
Rural households have less potential than urban households as a market for an additive or technology to extend pit life through the digestion or removal of contents. Full pits are less of a problem than in densely populated urban areas.
Although people dislike the inconvenience and cost associated with replacing them, there's generally room to dig new pits. Commercial additives are hardly used as they're rarely available in remote rural areas.
Social aspirations: North and South Vietnam
Pit latrine users dislike the smell, flies and inconvenience of their latrines, but can’t afford an alternative. They might be interested in a technology that performed like a septic tank but cost less, or in an additive that removed or greatly reduced latrine contents, as well as smell and flies.
Ideally, people would like septic tanks because they have no smell, no insects, rarely need emptying and their contents are not seen. They’re pleasant to use and don’t cause embarrassment. They’re also regarded as modern and progressive.
Waiting to upgrade: Central Vietnam
Social status and norms drive people’s decisions to upgrade their sanitation facilities – cost permitting. What people want is a septic tank. These are perceived as permanent and meeting people’s desire for no smell or sight of their contents.
If a septic tank could be offered for the cost of a pit latrine, there would probably be rapid uptake. A pit additive that could improve the performance of a pit or septic tank by preventing smells and reducing fill rate might have a market, but the price would need to be very low.