Ethiopia: the next phase of growth with IGA

By Eyerusalem Taye, Leader, Ethiopia

Building on the success of TWASH, our partnership with PSI in Ethiopia that improved the lives of nearly one million people since 2017, we have signed a new agreement for IGA – the commercial division of PSI – to continue the development of the market and bring better sanitation to a further 1,148,000 people in the next three years.

Acting as our sole importer in Ethiopia, in our first year together IGA will import more than 32,000 units – a mix of our award-winning SATO Stool and SATO Pan products. To support this, LIXIL will provide revolving seed funding, which will enable IGA to rapidly scale up via an importer and distributor model.

IGA’s expansion in the market will be driven through two workstreams. Firstly, it will establish at least nine different distributors across Ethiopia’s regions who have a unique reach into retailers and market traders. Secondly, IGA will also leverage its relationships through PSI to provide a simple sales channel for programme implementers – such as NGOs – to purchase our sanitation solutions in their intervention areas. This combination will ensure that NGOs can better impact communities that face barriers to purchasing sanitation solutions while supporting the everyday needs of the wider population through retail channels.

Over the next three years, IGA plans to double the number of units it imports each year. By the end of year three, an estimated 191,400 units are expected to have been delivered to Ethiopia, which will improve the lives of 1,148,000 people. Together, we will also continue our mason training, which will enable individuals to pursue careers in sanitation across the country.

The ‘Transform WASH’ (TWASH) initiative that came before our partnership with IGA set the foundation that will enable us to create a huge impact in the years ahead. We first entered Ethiopia with PSI in 2017. It’s one of Africa’s most diverse and vibrant countries, with a young population who want to drive change within their local community.

With TWASH, which was funded by USAID, we helped deliver that change by accelerating access to our award-winning products in rural parts of Ethiopia. In some instances, TWASH enabled consumers to access quality sanitation for the first time, creating significant word of mouth in local villages.

This work generated a wave of impact. Through demand-building activities by PSI, consumers sought out our products, in turn unlocking health and social value, while a new workforce of skilled masons who were trained to provide installation and aftercare services created meaningful employment opportunities for local people.

Ethiopia is a huge market, and while we’ve made good progress with PSI, there’s still more to do to bring high-quality sanitation to all. It’s also a challenge that is being taken seriously locally. Through the National ODF Campaign Ethiopia 2024, the Ministry of Health is pushing stakeholders to create a clean Ethiopia by 2024. This Government’s campaign aims that everyone has access to a basic toilet, mitigating the need for any individuals to practice open defecation.

At SATO, we have award-winning products that can make a difference and, with IGA, have a national reach to ensure that everyone has access to a basic toilet in the coming years. But we know we can’t solve the challenge singlehandedly and need to work with like-minded partners who share our commitment to creating brighter futures. That requires buy-in from retailers, distributors and wholesalers who want to add sanitation products to their portfolio and play an active role in unlocking value within their community.

Creating better futures in Ethiopia shouldn’t be seen as a challenge – it’s a massive opportunity. One that will not only improve the day-to-day lives of individuals across the country but will also drive growth opportunities for retailers, distributors, and wholesalers keen to come along on this positive journey with us by stocking our products.

Get in touch with me today if you’d like to make a difference together.

Eyerusalem Taye
Leader, SATO Ethiopia

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