Marketing Firm or Consultant for Women’s Empowerment Project

Job Title: Marketing Firm / Marketing Consultant
Project: Women’s Empowerment Program: WASH Marketing: by women, to women
Location: Phnom Penh, with activity across 8 other provinces
Period: June – September 2016
Proposals due: 31 May 2016 at 8:00 ICT

Summary:  WaterSHED is seeking the consultation of a company or individual to adapt current water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) marketing materials and methods to be more inclusive for all women in the WASH market value chain. Our goal in this project is to ensure the revised marketing tool kit and the methodologies to deliver these messages resonates with not only Cambodia’s women consumers but also the sales agents who deliver them.  Successful candidates will have extensive experience with behavior change research and marketing for base-of-pyramid consumers.


WaterSHED’s vision is for everyone to consistently wash their hands, use a toilet and drink clean water. We approach this by building the private market for water, sanitation, and hygiene in rural communities across Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. Our focus is on generating demand for WASH products with effective marketing activities and partnering with small businesses that can deliver those products to rural communities. Furthermore, we work closely with local government to position them as the main advocate for improved water, sanitation, and hygiene across Cambodia.

Our sanitation marketing efforts alone have enabled the sale of more than 130,000 latrines, generating more than $6 million in revenue for small business partners, and reaching nearly half a million people. Our social businesses in Vietnam and Cambodia are replicating this success with innovative technologies for washing hands and water purification.

In 2016, WaterSHED launched a Women’s Empowerment program to improve women’s participation in Cambodia’s dynamic and growing WASH market as business owners, sales agents, and informed consumers.


In the same way that WaterSHED is a catalyst for private WASH markets, WaterSHED’s Women’s Empowerment (WE) Program seeks to catalyze women’s participation and success in these markets in Cambodia.

While market-based approaches in WASH can offer exciting opportunities for entrepreneurial Cambodians to increase their income, increase their self-confidence, and grow their expertise in sanitation and hygiene, WaterSHED has become aware that women are not seizing this opportunity at the same rates as men.  This has consequences not only in terms of missed livelihood opportunities for those women but also on the uptake of WASH products and behaviors.

In support of WaterSHED’s vision as an organization, the vision of the WE Program is for rural women to be empowered as key enablers of appropriate WASH-related behavior.  Women play a crucial role – as leaders, educators and decision-makers within households and communities; as informed consumers; and as enterprising contributors to the WASH product value chain.

Program Components:
The four projects that comprise WaterSHED’s WE Program for 2016 – 2017 are as follows:

[These ToR refer only to project “iii. Marketing to women”]

i.   ‘WEwork Collective’: This part of the program is creating a vibrant community of women, to promote opportunities in rural markets for WASH and to equip participants with some of the key skills required for their success and empowerment.  The objective is to improve the productivity and decision-making power of women in WASH markets, through peer support, mentoring and training.

ii.   Marketing by women: This part of the program focuses on improving the recruitment, retention, and success of women in rural markets for WASH products and services.  We will look closely at the specific challenges and success factors for women in the WASH value chain, and use Action Research approaches to design, iterate and implement “hands off” responses to the challenges.

iii.   Marketing to women:  With this project we focus on Cambodian female consumers and household decision-makers. We will review and refine existing WASH marketing materials to better reflect women’s concerns and motivators; and to better reach female consumers.

iv.   Learning:  An important component of the program is to capture and share our learnings with regards to the engagement and support of women in a market.  We will publish findings, results, and practical guidelines for the private, public, and NGO sectors.


We aim to further unlock the powerful female customer base by tailoring existing sanitation marketing methods and messages so that they truly resonate with women – both as consumers and as sellers.

Rather than solving a ‘problem’ as such, we seek to address a major opportunity.  Women are a primary target group for the marketing of WASH products in Cambodia, and many are WASH leaders in their households and in their communities.  Research has shown that a higher proportion of female commune councilors in a commune positively affects latrine up-take.

This project contributes to our program’s long-term goals of having more women buying WASH products, and of having more women retained in the WASH market as a result of sales success.  We know that many women attend sales events – but we want to know whether existing marketing efforts reach women as well as they could, and what we can illuminate about women on both sides of the private market for WASH.

For this project, we focus on sanitation products: latrines and latrine shelters.  There is a well-established marketing toolkit for latrines currently in use nation-wide, and some newly-developed materials related to a new low-cost latrine shelter.

In terms of the elements of the marketing mix that we will address in this project, we focus on customers, promotion, and channels.

Broadly, we envisage the following steps:

  • Take stock of what exists relating to research and existing marketing, and evaluate how well it is being leveraged;
  • Uncover key insights about our female consumers and marketers;
  • Change or create marketing methods and messages, in thoughtful response to those key insights;
  • Rapidly test, iterate, and validate our ideas in the field, and implement by rolling out to sales agents.

We seek to address both sides of the market in all of the above steps – not only consumers but also the sellers themselves.  Women on the supply side must engage their target audience using effective promotional channels and tools in order for sales success.

The following groups may be involved in activities relating to this program:

  • Customers
  • Community representatives (village chiefs, commune leaders etc.)
  • “Supply Partners” who produce, sell, and deliver the latrines and related products,
  • “Sales Agents” (or “Key Persons”) – Usually also civic leaders, for example Commune Councilors or Village Chiefs.  They educate their communities and facilitate the sales of latrines in their communities,
  • WaterSHED employees:
    • “Facilitation Specialists” who work to facilitate the relationships between Supply Partners and Sales Agents / Key Persons
    •  The “Marketing by Women” project team, along with other existing research, will provide insights and inputs
  • WaterSHED Ventures - social enterprise that sells ceramic water filters, hand-washing devices, and the new low-cost latrine shelter.

WaterSHED invites organizations or individuals with relevant previous experience to submit proposals for this project by 8:00am ICT Tuesday 31 May.

Proposals should include:

  • Organizational background and capabilities;
  • Portfolio of previous projects or experience directly relevant to this project;
  • Profiles of consultants who would be involved in this project;
  • An outline of how you would approach this work;
  • Capacity to complete the project by the end of September 2016;
  • Budget estimate, including options with and without production of creative materials.

Any questions, and proposals, can be directed to
Sarah van Boekhout, Women’s Empowerment Program Manager:

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