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SAMADHAN - Sanitation Supply Chain Management
The vision of Government of India is to attain Open Defecation Free status in the country. It is imperative and not impossible but would require commitment and concerted efforts from all levels, especially at policy level in the states and implementation level at districts and below. To realize the dream, two-pronged initiative of Demand generation and to meet the demand through establishment of robust supply chain at cluster /block levels needs to be taken up in partnership with credible NGOs, CBOs and preferably with entrepreneurs. ACE has piloted the initiative in different settings and the experience has been quite encouraging. SWSM, Rajasthan and UNICEF, Jaipur selected Action for Community Empowerment (ACE) as the state level expert agency for facilitating Sanitation Supply Chain Development in select districts. The role of ACE was to build the capacities of the DWSC and DSU and provide complete support to DWSC in establishing vibrant sanitation supply chain for accelerated and quality implementation of the sanitation programme in the district.

This advocacy note summarizes the key thinking and strategy about how sanitation targets can be met through establishment of robust sanitation supply chain in the districts and suggests actions that need to be taken by DWSCs to accelerate the pace of sanitation improvement. Achieving the targets for sanitation and hygiene poses a significant challenge and can only be accomplished if pro-active action is taken by the DWSCs and all the partners.

Why supply chain management?

It has been seen that in absence of a sound supply chain mechanism demand generated using various kinds of demand generation activities fizzle out, deferred and dies out. At times community is ready for construction of toilets but face problems in procurement of toilet related construction material and unavailability of trained masons on different toilet technologies. SCM introduces conventional marketing approaches to stimulate demand and supply for sanitation products and services by encouraging households to invest own resources to improve their sanitation situation. The range of technology choices and a menu to choose from is key ingredient of SCM to satisfy consumer needs.

What is supply chain management?

Supply Chain Management in the field of sanitation is organizing logistics, technology, promotion and manpower for effective service delivery, which in essence encompasses:

Awareness creation and counseling for improved hygiene behaviour
dissemination and demystification of technology
Demand generation and meeting the demand
offering different affordable toilet options to families
Availability of trained masons
Availability of hardware and follow up on maintenance and after sales service

The Focus of Supply Chain management is thus on creating demand and strengthening supply for improved sanitation at household, community and Institutional level. Production centres and Rural Sanitary Marts are the physical entities representing supply chain.

What is a Production Center?

A Production Center is a one stop shop with loosely defined catchment area having a team of trained masons and mobilizes for sanitation promotion, demand creation and follow up action, where sanitation related items, mainly for toilets, are constructed / pre-fabricated, stocked and are available on payment. Here consumers / families get relevant information and know-how on technological options, material, and services of trained masons to facilitate construction of facilities. Here facility of upgrading the existing toilets is also available, provides quality products and services to the customers creating better experiences of life.

Why establish Production Centers?

To Bridge the gap between demand and supply in sanitation sector
To promote alternate delivery mechanism
To create job opportunities in rural sector
To develop service providers in the sanitation sector
To link producers and consumers through a human resource network
To create awareness and behaviour change about sanitation
To motivate people to construct and use household toilets
To discourage and completely stop the practice of open defecation

Process of establishing a Production Centre

Process of establishing a Production Centre

How can ACE help the districts/partners/entrepreneurs in accelerating the sanitation coverage through SCM?

Build capacities of partners on the alternate approach
Help finalize and roll out a sanitation promotion action plan to establish supply chain units
Help in designing and undertaking market research
Help in designing sanitation marketing strategy
Help in capacity building of Masons and sales force Help in developing sanitation business plans
Develop and put in place a monitoring mechanism for progress monitoring
Provide handholding in establishment and build capacities for viability and sustainability

Expectations from Government/partners:

To agree in principle to adopt the SCM approach
Identify partners for setting up Production centres and provide them revolving fund
Organize 3-5 day residential training for the PC operators and functionaries
Monitor progress and support PCs

To achieve open defecation free, effective and reliable supply chain mechanism through a network of production centres can be the appropriate step to stimulate demand and cater to it. The demand generated through CLTS or other initiatives can be met immediately if a sound delivery mechanism exists. In the absence of a reliable supply chain, demand created and if not met in time fizzles out.
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