Practitioner's Tool / Promotions Plan for San Fernando City's Sewerage and Septage Program

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Effective promotions campaigns help to raise the level of awareness of sanitation issues while driving the demand and raising the willingness to pay for services. In January 2010, the city of San Fernando in the Philippines began a sewerage and septage management project supported by the United States Agency for International Development and Rotary International Water Alliance. Because the promotions aspect was especially important for this project, the city's mayor created a promotions technical working group to develop a plan.

The plan was based on a rapid technical assessment conducted by Barangay health workers and local plumbers and engineers that underwent specific training. The results of the assessment included the following:

  • House-to-house campaigns are the preferred outreach method for receiving information about septic tanks and household sanitation.
  • Barangay health workers are a trusted source of information for issues related to health and hygiene.

Below is the promotions plan established at the beginning of the project. Since the project began implementing the plan, they have had success in promotions. In one series of events between March 29 and April 1, 2011, 555 people attended meetings to learn about septage management issues and the city's program to resolve them.

Barangay Health Worker Outreach Campaign

Barangay health workers are highly motivated volunteers who work with families in their homes and neighborhoods on a variety of health-related issues, including nutrition, child wellness, family planning, sanitation and hygiene. As the primary bridge between the city and the family on health-related issues, San Fernando's 310 Barangay health workers are in a unique position to communicate important information about the city's efforts to improve sanitation.

The health workers conducted a rapid technical assessment that identified five focus points where improvements at the household level would support the overall goal of improving sanitation in San Fernando City. These five focus points serve as the basis of the outreach campaign. As the volunteers work with the families in their neighborhoods, they will identify the sanitation needs and distribute appropriate information. The promotions team will be creating outreach materials and training the Barangay health workers in their use.

The five focus areas of the outreach campaign will provide information covering the following:

  • The city's program in general and how participation helps improve environmental health in the community
  • Proper care and use of septic tanks, including information on what should and should not be placed in the septic tank as well as signs that indicate septic tanks should be desludged
  • Installing proper septic tank cleanouts for desludging
  • Improving pit toilets  to minimize pollution, odor and flies
  • Proper treatment and reuse of greywater from sinks, laundry washing and showers that can be a health hazard if allowed to pond around residential housing
Media Campaign

Print: There is an active press corps in San Fernando City with a number of local and regional publications. Stories and feature articles about the city's efforts in improving sanitation in the community through sewerage and septage management will help spread the word about the program. The city's communications office will be tapped to coordinate the outreach messages.

Radio: Many people in the Philippines rely on the radio for information and news. The outreach campaign will target radio talk shows and news programs to disseminate information about the sanitation project. The promotions team will conduct an information awareness seminar for key people who can serve as a cadre of experts to be tapped for radio news and talk show interviews. The seminar will provide talking points, frequently asked questions and answers, and general information about the sewerage and septage program, so all experts are speaking with a unified voice on the issues.

Other Outreach Measures

Promotional posters will be created to post at barangay halls and public buildings. Information fliers and brochures will also be created for distribution through water bills, door-to-door campaigns and other outreach opportunities.

These materials will be focused, audience-driven, behavior-change directed, research-based, measurable and creative.

For more information, visit the San Fernando City Septage Management Program website at