EARTH COUNCIL Geneva has no connection with the EARTH COUNCIL ALLIANCE






With the support of Earth Council-Geneva, International Medical Corps identified specific activities designed to improve sanitation and hygiene practices at the community level in the Wolyata Zone in Southern Ethiopia beginning September 2014. This project is in line with the ECG Mission statement and is complementing and leveraging 500.000 euros in funding from ECHO.

The tools and approaches derived from the formative research and Sanitation Marketing Strategy carried out by DOW CHEMICAL and IMC will enable IMC and ECG to be pioneers in expanding the sanitation marketing approach in Ethiopia, influence other hygiene and sanitation actors in Ethiopia, and scale its contribution to the improvement of community health and livelihoods in Ethiopia's most vulnerable communities - with the view of replicating the process in other countries in need for such programs.

The sanitation Marketing Project in Boloso-sore and Damot-pulassa districts of Wolayita was launched to support the Community Led Total Sanitation and Hygiene Programs in those districts.

Both communities are receiving nutrition, mental health support and livelihoods through the program. The project is designed to increase adoption of safe hygiene practices and to ensure effective use of new WASH infrastructure, especially latrines and hand-washing stations, developed under the overall project.

The EARTH COUNCIL-GENEVA funded-project is implementing the sanitation marketing program developed by DOW and IMC.



We are providing funds to document each step of the program and its implementation. This will allow us to replicate the project in other countries in need of improving sanitation and hygiene.




Activities to date have included:

Government Participation

Working closely with district level officials to create buy-in; integrate local expertise; and help ensure successful adoption and implementation of the marketing program.

  • International Medical Corps teams in Ethiopia brought together 20 district level officials (10 from each district) from the following units:  Agriculture and Rural Development; Finance and Economic; Marketing and Cooperatives; Rural Job Opportunity; Small and Medium Enterprises; Microfinance; Health Office and Water; Mines and Energy, among other.
  • Meetings included a presentation on the program; participatory discussion to answer questions and integrate local expertise
  • As a result of the ongoing meetings and discussions, both administration units officially endorsed the marketing program, including adding it to the top of their respective agendas to be reviewed with International Medical Corps monthly over the length of the program, helping to ensure that learning is shared with district officials and that challenges can be addressed in a timely manner.
  • International Medical Corps also worked with the government officials to select the four pilot kebeles, two in each region.  Kebeles were chosen based on the fact that they had existing programs to combat open defection; easy access to markets; communities had some level of buying capacity; the presence of a dedicated, strong health extension agent; presence of cooperatives/associations; and availability of artisans to construct latrines and materials.


Sanitation Marketing Teams 

International Medical Corps also worked with the government officials to form Sanitation Marketing Enablers Teams in each district – 9 district level experts in sanitation and marketing programs that will work hand-in-hand to implement the program with International Medical Corps and ensure that local knowledge and expertise is integrated into the program; and so that International Medical Corps can train these teams on the approach for future use.

  • Sanitation Marketing Teams liaise with artisans building latrines and with government officials to ensure that local, government rules and regulations are met.
  • Teams provide regular and ongoing communication with government and local leaders to create additional buy-in, expand outreach programs and encourage community participation through all channels
  • Teams are working with religious leaders, health extension workers, agricultural health extension workers, heads of health centers and clinics, and key religious leaders.


Artisan Team

An artisan team of 15 local artisans trained in latrine and handwashing construction has been formed to support the project.  These artisans are certified with the government, helping to ensure the supply chain and that latrines and handwashing stations can be built quickly and maintained.


Key Learnings to Date

  • The project has reinforced the work required to build consensus among local government officials to ensure success of the project.  The challenges in ensuring local buy in led to the creation of the Sanitation Team and Artisan Team – selected participants that already work with the government and local leaders and can ensure that the program follows local rules and regulations.  The formation of these teams is an innovation in how we approach our work.
  • Specifically, emphasis was initially placed on latrine construction by the government.  It took quite a bit of meeting and discussion to help stakeholders understand the role of marketing in creating behavior change and adoption of safer practices.


Ongoing activities

  • Marketing Campaign: Mass media radio messaging; Deployment of “development armies” who work with household leaders to deliver messages; ongoing work with community leaders to integrate messaging across sectors.
  • Demonstration Latrines: Construction and “showcasing” of improved latrines
  • Artisan Teams:  Ongoing training and supportive supervision of artisan teams who are constructing/repairing latrines and handwashing stations.