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Gathering Deep User Insights Through Human Centered Design

Market Segmentation Research

In order to go beyond the “early adopters” who purchased latrines under the pilot project, more research was needed to better understand the drivers and barriers of various market segments. The Sanitation Market Scale-Up project spent a month conducting Human Centered Design (HCD) research at the beginning of the Going Deep sub-project to ground efforts to more deeply penetrate the market. User insights research was conducted to understand the needs and psychology of latrine users and non-users. Over 40 in-depth interviews were conducted with user and non-user households and members of the supply chain. The research findings informed five frameworks for better understanding users and their latrine purchasing process. 

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1. The exchangeability of the latrine relative to other assets
The latrine has not been a purchase priority because it does not generate positive financial or emotional returns. Households value ownership of tangible things, especially things that can serve as an investment and generate more income, e.g. animals, gold, rice mill. Households also like to own things they enjoy, e.g. TVs and karaoke systems. Both types of products generate a positive return. However, most households own latrines to save face, which moves them from a negative state of embarrassment and shame to a neutral state of not being embarrassed or ashamed.


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2. Positioning the latrine to generate a positive return, either financially or socially
Households’ openness to purchasing a latrine can be understood against three categories: i) their attitude towards money ii) the child-parent relationship and iii) the physical location of their defecation spot. Households who perceive themselves to be extremely poor, who take care of young children, and who have access to a toilet nearby are the least likely to purchase a toilet. Households who perceive themselves to be able to afford a toilet, who have elderly parents, and who only have access to crowded areas without bush are the most likely to purchase. Recognition of a problem (embarrassment) and/or a desire (to match neighbors) helps drive household purchases.


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3. Mapping purchase motivations to product categories
Households buy different kinds of latrines and shelters based on different motivations. Those who want to satisfy an urgent problem, such as social pressure, will often build a cheap natural shelter. Those who are looking to solve a problem and satisfy an aspirational desire will likely purchase a concrete shelter. Those who are looking to satisfy higher-level aspirations such as aesthetics and enjoyment will likely invest in a bathroom with the works—tiles, mirror, large water basin, and flowers.


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4. Household latrine purchase experience
The research mapped the household latrine purchase process for both Easy and non-Easy Latrines. The mapping showed that despite innovations in the pilot project, the latrine purchase process remains complex and can be simplified even further. Households must deal with different actors at each step of the process and do not have easy access to accurate product options and prices. Moreover, supply chain actors such as the sales agents, village chiefs, and masons are not being leveraged fully to drive households to purchase.

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5. Psychographic market segmentation of non-latrine owners
The User Insights research findings about those open to buying latrines were then reframed into the transtheoretical model of behavior change, which assesses an individual’s readiness to act on a new healthier behavior, and provides strategies, or processes of change to guide the individual through the stages of change from Precontemplation (not even considering the change), to Contemplation (starting to consider the change), to Preparation (getting ready to make the change), to Execution (acting), and finally to Maintenance of new behavior (consistently acting according to the new behavior). Mapping the influencers, barriers, and accelerators onto the various stages of behavior change allowed the project to design interventions to address the specific needs of each stage. The User Insights and Market Segmentation research informed the sales, marketing, and enterprise engagement strategy.