Developing and expanding consumer markets for WASH products and services is a major focus of development efforts in countries with big gaps in WASH services. Sanitation marketing, self-supply, household water treatment, and commercial small water supply enterprises all offer the potential for huge growth. But the starting point in developing consumer WASH markets is typically a lack of supply and demand. Consumers do not reach out for products they do not know, and private sector businesses find WASH markets challenging and margins low. Frequently it is NGOs who lead the effort to catalyze or create a new supply of products and services. Innovators, accelerators, and impact investors can also play important roles.
This paper presents reflections on how such consumer WASH markets are being developed and the role of different types of actors in the system. While not exhaustive, this seeks to bring some new insights to the debate, drawing especially on the experiences of private sector entrepreneurs.