Beneficiaries to Buyers: a market-based approach to inclusive and sustainable WASH in the Philippines. 

Water for Women partners with Oxfam to deliver Beneficiaries to Buyers: a market-based approach to inclusive and sustainable WASH in the Philippines.  This project supports women and people facing marginalisation to move from being aid recipients to active sanitation participants, who can access pro-poor finance products to enable them to buy and sell affordable and high quality toilets that meet their specific needs.


The Philippines is home to over 100 million people, and the capital Manila is the most densely populated city in the world.  Whilst the Philippines ranks highly in global indices of gender, gaps in political empowerment and economic participation, opportunities for improvement are still significant when it comes to ensuring universal access to WASH.

Research has identified finance as a key constraint to marginalised communities accessing WASH services and products.  In Eastern Visayas, almost 30% of households are without improved sanitation facilities and 10% of the population practice open defecation.

Whilst 76% of households professed a desire for a low-interest loan for toilet construction, access to formal finance products is prohibitive.  Financial barriers are coupled with a lack of affordable WASH products such as toilets that meet specific needs of women and other marginalised groups, lack of funding for development of low-cost products and barriers to establishing micro-small-medium sized enterprises that could provide such services in poor and marginalised communities.

When it comes to gender equality and social inclusion, women’s participation in paid work is constrained by unpaid domestic and care work, and a lack of productive employment opportunities.  

Mobile phone and data coverage is high in the Philippines and the use of mobile applications for accessing financial services is common.  This provides an opportunity to use mobile technology to overcome physical barriers faced by particular marginalised segments of the population. 


Water for Women will be partnering with Oxfam to deliver Beneficiaries to Buyers: a market-based approach to inclusive and sustainable WASH in the Philippines.

The project goal is strengthened WASH policy, practice and finance.

The target areas are poor and marginalised communities in Luzon, Central and Eastern Visayas. 

Regional map of Philippines 

Utilising a sanitation marketing approach, the program strengthens the WASH value-chain by:

  • Increasing access to pro-poor finance products for households and WASH enterprises to allow them to design and build toilets that meet specific needs of women, persons with disability and other marginalised groups.  
  • Increasing availability of affordable, gender and disability sensitive toilets by establishing and supporting female-led WASH enterprises, as well as creating an enabling environment that facilitates the engagement of women and people facing marginalisation in sustainable WASH livelihoods 


The project structure focuses on five key outcomes:

Outcome 1: Economic Empowerment

  • Expansion of subsidies and alternative finance models for community level WASH investments.
  • Economic empowerment opportunities for households and sanitation enterprises to overcome financial and non-financial barriers

Outcome 2: Develop Pro-Poor Products

  • Affordable and inclusive WASH products accredited by the Department of Health.
  • Women and people facing marginalisation are motivated and economically empowered to invest in WASH.

Outcome 3: Voice and Agency for the marginalised

  • Promote voice and agency of women and people facing marginalisation
  • Increased access to financial services and livelihood opportunities for women and people facing marginalisation to become WASH change agents.

Outcome 4: Social Accountability

  • Consumer based social accountability groups engaging with change agents to strengthen provision of WASH services.
  • Create an enabling environment for consumers to engage with local government and private sector change agents through consumer based social accountability groups.

Outcome 5: Influence and Change

  • Ensure sustainability by influencing the government to further develop and expand WASH subsidies for social safety-net recipients facing marginalisation and provide accreditation for low cost, high quality WASH product design.
  • Increased adoption of market models for the provision of GESI sanitation:
  • Learning and evidence contributes to development of replicable and scalable market models for provision of GESI WASH services. 

"Access to WASH remains an important issue in today's society. In the Philippines, access to WASH in rural and urban areas remains a challenge. Through the Water for Women project of Oxfam, Bayan Academy is not only able to participate in improving access to WASH by capacitating WASH entrepreneurs and enablers but it is also able to help improve the economic wellness of WASH market players. Bayan Academy is honoured to have partnered with Oxfam in championing WASH initiatives in the Philippines." 

- Basil Ronald Soriao, Program Director, Bayan Academy 

The Australian aid program is investing in the Philippines over a five-year period to achieve these outcomes.   Water for Women is proud to be partnering with Oxfam to improve the lives of thousands of people in Luzon, Central and Eastern Visayas.  Other partners on the project include: A Single Drop for Safe Water, Bayan Academy, and Cebu People’s Multipurpose Cooperative.

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