For years, USAID and other NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have been trying to improve sanitation as well as create a safe water supply for countries throughout the developing world. With varying degrees of success in the cities, only pockets of rural communities have adopted the use of toilets as a means of disposing human waste. As the population in these areas rise, lack of safe sanitation creates an extreme health risk to children and villagers resulting in endemic diarrheal disease. There is one organization, WaterSHED, that has been working on a different approach. Host Amy Pearl had a chance to catch up with WaterSHED’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Lin Lu, to discuss their amazing work in Cambodia, and more specifically how their market-based approach is helping to speed the adoption of safe sanitation practices in rural communities.



Amy Pearl, Executive Director, Hatch Innovation


Lin Liu, Director of Strategic Partnerships, WaterSHED

In this episode you’ll learn

  • Why sanitation projects of the past have proven ineffective, and what the barriers are in regards to sanitation in rural Cambodia
  • What collaborative approaches work best for entrepreneurs and business owners in rural communities
  • How monetary transactions work in a market for sanitation
  • About WaterSHED’s open source design for a toilet
  • How WaterSHED has fostered the behavior change necessary to encourage local adoption
  • WaterSHED’s plan for a business model change, and what methods they have used to help the market for toilets reach 40% saturation

Links to Resources Mentioned


Micro Finance Institutions (MFI): A microfinance institution is an organization that offers financial services to low income populations. Almost all give loans to their members, and many offer insurance, deposit and other services.