iDE's initial work in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector focused on water filtration in an effort to decrease the prevalence of diseases and water-borne illnesses in rural communities. iDE has a history of working with various water filtration systems, including the Shapla Arsenic Filter in Bangladesh and the Ceramic Water Filter (CWF) in Cambodia. iDE's proven water purification products are designed to be affordable for the rural poor, retailing for between $14 and $23 depending upon the model, and are distributed through the local private sector in each country.
These successes have now inspired the creation of Hydrologic, an independent social enterprise owned by iDE, whose mission is to become the leading distributor of effective and affordable WASH products throughout Cambodia. Hydrologic became profitable in 2013. It employs 40 people to manage a production facility and distribution network that delivers 4,000 water filters per month to Cambodian households.
In 2003, iDE Vietnam implemented our first project involving sanitary latrines, employing the Sanitation Marketing approach to quadruple latrine installation rates without hardware subsidy. Though succcessful, iDE learned through this project that locally available sanitary latrines were priced well beyond the reach of the large majority of our clients. In an effort to capitalize on this market deficiency, iDE Cambodia used human centered design principles to produce an effective and affordable latrine designed around the needs of the rural poor. The Easy Latrine retails for $35, is sold as a kit at a single point-of-purchase, and can be installed in one day by users themselves. In a pilot project in two Cambodian provinces, iDE coupled the new Easy Latrine design with aspirational promotion Sanitation Marketing project to facilitate the sale of more than 17,000 unsubsidized sanitary latrines in 16 months. The success of this project has prompted significant additional donor investment from the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Stone Family Foundation to scale nationally in Cambodia, and has laid the foundation for further international expansion.
Increasing the practice of hand washing with soap in rural communities has the potential to reduce the prevalence of diarrhea by 50 percent and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent. In an effort to further improve the wellbeing of the rural poor, iDE Vietnam contributed to the design of an affordable and effective hand washing device. The device holds enough water to support a family of four for 24 hours, meaning that piped water within the house is not required. It is made from durable, weather-resistant material with a perforated faucet to ensure efficient use of water, and a plastic tray underneath to store soap and allow for drainage of wastewater. The product is currently in development to further reduce the cost, after which it will be ready for market.