Financial Inclusion to Improve Sanitation & Health: A multi-stakeholder partnership addressing supply & demand sides of the global sanitation challenge
Financial Inclusion Improves Sanitation & Health (FINISH) Mondial (FM) employs a multi-stakeholder approach through the Diamond Model to address both supply & demand sides of the sanitation (and SDG 6) challenge. FM emphasizes demand generation & an efficient supply chain, as well as capacity building with financial institutions & governments to sustainably develop local markets, realize scale & attract [commercial] financing to the sector. FM is built on a track record of success with potential for continued scaling, with the first FINISH project operational in India since 2009. FM celebrated the milestone of constructing 1M toilets & is on track to construct at least 1M more (2 million total) by 2025.
FINISH Mondial empowers local stakeholders & promotes partnerships to create sustainable change. The FM partnership aims to be a global leader in building a circular sanitation economy, working with the private sector & financially empowering (under-served) communities & businesses to scale access to sanitation. The ultimate aim is to see impact in healthier & socio-economically empowered communities. FM is making the case for investability and attracting commercial finance to the critically underfunded sanitation sector, an arguably key weak link for attaining SDG 6. FM has cross-cutting impacts, contributing to strengthened local (WASH, waste and agriculture) value chains, health (mitigating preventable deaths and illnesses caused by poor sanitation and water-borne illnesses), climate resiliency, gender empowerment and social inclusion, for example.
FM contributes directly to SDGs 6 & 3 & indirectly to SDGs 8, 5 & 17. FM has cross-sectoral impact, touching many SDGs, breaking silos, & building partnerships, linking to water, agriculture, & renewable energy sectors. Emphasizing sustainability & aligning with national agendas, FM facilitates first time access to sanitation while preventing backsliding in already-reached communities. FM is unique, attracting new avenues of financing for the goals, creating demand while building capacity with local financial institutions to develop WASH loan portfolios & proving investability in sanitation.
FM works through a network of trusted local partner organisations who are well-established & trusted in the communities of operation (e.g. Caritas in Uganda, FINISH Society in India and Amref Health Africa across East African program countries, to name a few). Cost efficiency (driving down facilitation costs for program and making toilet construction affordable for communities) is a priority for the partnership. Local partners in each country are trusted to take the lead on their area of expertise, namely through either supply or demand sides of operations, coordinated by [an often independent] country coordinator who is native to the respective countries, also embedded within the community. Country coordinators are responsible for overseeing implementation, managing relationships & reporting requirements with key stakeholders locally (via country-specific management teams & advisory boards) & internationally with the ‘global’ management team & supervisory board. FM acts as an ‘open-source’ model for scaling—teams are always seeking to build new partnerships & combine resources for greater impact. Resources are leveraged through a) working with local governments, getting government buy-in on activities from the start, & b) local financial institutions. Demand creation & awareness raising links to local health & hygiene campaigns for effective cooperation & leveraging, building on complementary initiatives as CLTS. Local ownership paired with (particularly ‘south-south’) knowledge exchange is key to FM’s success. The partnership also functions through a series of thematic working groups to connect experts across the full program to support innovation in the countries. This includes an active M&E team comprised of experts to collaborate, collect & verify data on both global & local levels. Monitoring mechanisms measure output & outcome at various frequencies (monthly KPIs monitoring, quarterly IATI reporting, baseline/midterm/end-line & sustainability checks (FIETS principles).
Over the last 10 years (especially in India (operational since 2009) & Kenya (since 2013)) we have seen big impacts in the communities we work in. Through the construction of 1 million toilets, reaching 5 million people with safe sanitation & the creation of over 10 million workdays in construction alone, we are contributing to healthier (e.g. first ODF Kenyan county) & socio- economically empowered communities. FM has been able to leverage significant local finance for safe sanitation (facilitating household sanitation investments more than €150 M, incl. €60 M through support by partner financial institutions & €65 M from results-based financing by local gov’ts) with less than 5% of initial funding coming from grants. Through emphasizing commercial financing, we see about half of sanitation loan clients are first-time bankers with more than half being women. FM is implementing digital monitoring tools to increase transparency and efficiency, influencing partners to follow suit. Both quantitative & qualitative results on the ground have showcased how the programme effectuates change towards reaching the SDGs on individual levels as well as within overarching institutional and financial systems.
Enabling factors can be largely attributed to trust, considered: 1) from the network of partners who believe in the model/approach & are trusted by the communities they serve, & 2) from major donors (e.g. DGIS) who also believed in the approach and partnership (contributing to the first grant funding which catalysed the expanded program) as an effective method for creating & investing in impact at scale. Constraints have been observable in the liquidity of MFIs, which hampered effectively issuing sanitation loans at certain times or in certain areas. FM is addressing this, developing a series of sanitation bonds.
As a systems-change initiative, sustainability is considered at every level of design, planning & implementation, in the following specific ways. 1. Innovations in toilet designs are continually improved, focusing on local geographic, socio-economic contextualisation & cost reductions. Climate resiliency of designs is also a key focus, with innovations in flood-proof systems being tested & implemented. 2. Making the case for investability means local financial institutions see the benefit in developing WASH portfolios beyond program scope. 3. Local sanitation entrepreneurs are capacitated with quality skills building & are supported to grow (facilitating access to finance, bookkeeping skills, professionalising with permits assistance). 4. FM works with trusted local partners (incl. gov’ts) to build capacity with key stakeholders on local (county, district) & national levels. Key stakeholders are onboarded from the beginning & capacitated to ensure program continuity & sustainability.
The partnerships & approach have proven resilient. FM teams report that disruptions have catalysed innovation & new ways of working. Targets & core program goals have not been greatly affected, as the WASH sector is increasingly seen as the front line of defence against COVID-19. Teams played key roles in local COVID-19 response (awareness campaigns, monitoring) on the ground. Understanding of the WASH sector’s economic potential is increasing (as seen by increased uptake of WASH businesses). FM & its partners provide a greater array of serious WASH entrepreneurs to select from & have been go-to contacts for implementing health & hygiene campaigns. To mitigate disruptions, digital tools have been implemented across all levels—crucial for continuing work & lowering facilitation costs.
SDGS & Targets
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Deliverables & Timeline
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6-country approach: India (10 states), Bangladesh (9 municipalities), Kenya (7 counties), Uganda (4 districts in Fort Portal, Rwenzori area), Tanzania (Mwanza city, Magu, Misungwi), Ethiopia (Oromia & Amhara regions)