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What is a Sanithon?

related country: Burkina Faso
related country: Burkina Faso

A donor asked me what a sanithon is the other day, and I found I was not 100% sure. They were particularly interested in the context of a project they are supporting in Burkina Faso, but I would be interested to know about any countries which are using this approach.


2 Answers

Rémi Kaupp

Hi Emily. It is an activity developed in Burkina Faso and used mostly (only?) there to my knowledge, although there is interest in replicating. The basic principle is to mobilise local funds from leaders and the general public, specifically for sanitation (the name may come from the "Telethon" which is the largest private French fundraiser, relying on a big TV program with celebrities, although it is focused on a single disease, unlike say Comic Relief). The approach dates back to 2012 (see this document); to quote another learning doc from Burkina:

In February 2012, the government of Burkina Faso officially adopted the Leaders Led Total Sanitation (LLTS) to improve access to sanitation with the ultimate goal of achieving an open defecation free country by 2015. On July 6, 2012, WaterAid mobilized these Leaders by organizing an innovative “SaniThon”, which raised awareness and brought many actors together from different sectors on the role of sanitation in human development. This led all ministries and institutions at the national and international level to commit to building latrines, demonstrating the importance of addressing sanitation issues. The SaniThon was held in collaboration with the Ministry in charge of water and sanitation and the journalist network for hygiene, water and sanitation. It was supported by the World Bank, UNICEF, private companies, and civil society organizations.


Hi Remi

Thanks for this - it is really helpful.. .I don't suppose you have any opinions or thoughts on the organisations that I posted the other day as well??! Hoping that all is good with you on secondment.

All the best