Rachel Sklar of Pit Pumpers Ltd. in Rwanda will develop an interactive SMS messaging platform to increase community use of companies to safely empty pit latrines in Rwanda by using communication to increase demand and thereby decrease cost and wait-times for service calls. Pit latrines, used by nearly two billion people worldwide, must be emptied regularly to avoid public health risks associated with fecal contamination of groundwater. Companies in Rwanda provide an emptying service with cost-saving opportunities when several households book together. However, this is more difficult to arrange for users in remote areas, and households may resort to unsafe dumping. They will improve coordination of service requests among remote communities by using local shop owners (duka agents) to identify households needing an emptying service. These leads will be followed up with targeted SMS marketing, and the agents paid a commission for those converted to customers. The interactive SMS messaging platform will provide households with a referral code to invite neighbors to join the service call, and the resulting cluster of customers pay a reduced rate for emptying. It will further include educational messages explaining the negative impacts of manual dumping of fecal sludge to promote behavior change. They will develop the platform and test their approach by training agents in Kigali, Rwanda.
More information about Innovation for WASH in Urban Settings (Round 22)