Connecting Latrine Supply Chain Actors
LESSONS LEARNED: Bringing supply chain actors together surfaces challenges and new ideas.
As part of the project’s Going Deep component, supply chain forums were held every six months to facilitate greater collaboration along the supply chain and encourage local government to support market development efforts. Participants usually included Latrine Business Owners (LBOs), sales agents, retail shops, Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) NGOs, masons, and local government officials. Larger raw materials suppliers were also invited, but little or no interest was shown.
The forums brought to light that the latrine supply chain is still quite disjointed. While LBOs, retailers, and masons are usually familiar with each other, they do not interact with each other on a daily basis.
Although retailers are aware LBOs sell underground components of a latrine, it did not occur to them that connecting with LBOs could lead to a business opportunity of selling shelter materials. LBOs generally had existing formal relationships with masons, but few hired masons to offer installation services. However, by the end of the project, teams of masons offering installation services were emerging in Prey Veng province. LBOs, retailers, and masons all expressed interest in offering shelter products and services, which would likely bring closer collaboration.
Another issue discussed in the forums was how to leverage economies of scale across the LBOs. LBOs in Kandal generally purchase materials from a main supplier in Phnom Penh, but LBOs in Svay Rieng are better positioned to leverage economies of scale. However, there is a fear of competition among LBOs, making it difficult to coordinate closely.
In the supply chain forums, CLTS NGOs shared that they have a specific triggering schedule. LBOs understood that CLTS events create more business opportunity. LBOs observed many NGOS doing CLTS and wanted to get a schedule, but did not know how to approach the NGOs. LBOs requested that CLTS NGOs share the schedule, but the NGOs reported that they do not have the capacity to keep LBOs informed about triggering schedules. Going Deep experimented with facilitating a relationship between CLTS implementers, local government, and the private sector, which showed promise, but demonstrated that dedicated effort and resources are needed to ensure close coordination.