Smart Subsidies Help the Rural Poor Climb the Sanitation Ladder
East Meets West (EMW) contracted with the Mekong Development Research Institute (MDRI) to conduct an independent evaluation of EMW’s CHOBA program.
The main objectives of the research were to determine 1) to what degree increases in improved sanitation coverage in the targeted areas could be causally attributed to the program and 2) the impacts of different program interventions on increasing coverage.
In less than four years, more than 110,000 hygienic toilets were built by poor Vietnamese families under the CHOBA program. In 508 participating communities, the percentage of poor households with hygienic latrines more than tripled, narrowing the ‘sanitation access gap’ between rich and poor dramatically. Another 32,000 non-poor households built latrines under CHOBA’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.
Findings and Lessons Learned
From baseline to end line, the full CHOBA package resulted in an approximately 17 percentage point increase in septic tank ownership as compared to controls. There is a clear additive effect from the combination of household and community-level incentives. The research also demonstrated that the rebate-only package was more effective at mobilizing households than the CCT-only package. The CHOBA program has deﬁnitively accelerated the delivery of properly designed latrines and septic tanks to the Vietnamese rural poor, and the OBA model should be expanded as a form of sanitation policy by developing world governments.