A Vanuatuan family holding toilet rolls while standing in front of a toilet building; A Vanuatuan family holding toilet rolls while standing in front of a toilet building;

WASH Vanuatu, Port Vila and Luganville

Loos for livelihoods – making sanitation everyone’s business

Everyone, everywhere has the right to clean water and proper sanitation.As part of our community engagement Global Challenge, which supports projects aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we worked with NGO Live & Learn Environment Education to create enterprise opportunities based on sanitation improvements.

Project Summary

2 cities involved, Port Vila and Luganville

16-monthpartnership with NGO partner Live & Learn International

900people have benefitted from access to improved toilets

Community-based sanitation enterprise

A simple business model was established in the form of small community-based sanitation enterprises that market, construct and sell toilets, offer hand-washing facilities and other hygiene products including soap and toilet paper to people in informal settlements. With products being sold to communities, by communities, rather than being given away for free, the aim was to create sustainable businesses that can contribute to meaningful, lasting social and economic change.

Building local capability

The project wanted to build a market for improvements to sanitation. The community-based sanitation enterprise built a WASH centre of excellence, with a showcase, toilets and latrines enabling community members to see the sanitation options available for the comment. Whilst the focus of the project was on responding to SDG 6, our method for attaining this has been through empowering communities and building livelihoods.

Building on lessons learned from piloted sanitation marketing approaches in the Pacific, additional support was provided such as financial forecasting and business planning for sanitation enterprises, how to create different revenue streams and more. This involved specialists from Arup’s advisory team as well as water and international development teams providing technical advice.

Working with Arup is helping us enable communities to address their sanitation challenges through sustainable, local solutions. Arup’s technical assistance is invaluable to the success of the community based sanitation enterprises and the future expansion of the model in the South Pacific. ” Michelle Abel Program Adviser, Live & Learn International

Improving outcomes for everybody

While our engagement focused on the provision of sanitation for public health outcomes such as reduction in waterborne diseases (typhoid, trachoma and scabies) we also had outcomes for community resilience. The sanitation enterprises were able to provide handwashing facilities in response to the Ambae volcano benefitting 2,000 people. The project had a strong gender focus and women were encouraged to play a leading role in the sanitation enterprises. The design and location of sanitation facilities was planned to be safe for women and inclusive of people with disabilities, the elderly and children.

Two Vanuatuan women working together using a drill Two Vanuatuan women working together using a drill

Sanitation in the Pacific is challenging but the SDGs call all of us to ensure that ‘no-one is left behind’ which means we will need to innovate until we find an approach that is successful. Community-based enterprise approach allows people to have ownership of the issue and develop a sense of pride in the work that they done. ”

Gabrielle McGill Gabrielle McGill Engineer, International Development

Learning from a strong partnership

Live & Learn has been working to develop sanitation marketing in the Pacific and part of our role has been to help advance this kind of social entrepreneurism, at scale, in Vanuatu. Through this project Arup was able to support Live & Learn as it influenced the creation of national sanitation guidelines with the Vanuatu Government, alongside UNICEF, Save the Children and other NGOs; this guideline has the potential to impact 200,000 people in Vanuatu.

It was great working alongside the Live & Learn team in Vanuatu. Their experience on the ground enabled us to see the direct contribution we have made to such an essential SDG. ” Gabrielle McGill Gabrielle McGill Engineer, International Development

A small toilet building in Vanuatu A small toilet building in Vanuatu

Co-developing ideas with potential into solutions with global impact

Work alongside us together with communities to improve the lives of the vulnerable and marginalised while tackling systemic challenges. As part of its community engagement global challenge programme, Arup brings together people from many disciplines to work collaboratively on local solutions to urban and rural challenges that can deliver meaningful outcomes and a positive impact.

Contact us at [email protected]