Phuong Phoeun began his side ‘career’ as a toilet sales agent at a district workshop held by the WASH-M team. Although he wasn’t shy about public speaking, he didn’t know much about promotions. After attending the WASH-M training and watching some sales demonstrations, he was soon out doing his own promotions.
One of Phuong Phoeun’s most effective strategies is to talk about cost: the money people spend when they or their family members get sick from diarrhea is easily more than the cost of one low-cost latrine. In some villages, he also reasons, ‘If you want to go to do open defecation, you have to go 300 meters. But what about when you have diarrhea? It is not easy to try and ride a bicycle or walk to the defecation place when you are in a bad condition. A toilet is a good idea for you and much easier.’
Phuong Phoeun speaks with first-hand experience – he also did not have a toilet until very recently. ‘When I first joined the sales agent training, they asked ‘Who doesn’t have a latrine?’ and I raised my hand. They called me to the front and encouraged me to buy one. As the sales agent, I should buy one to be the model.’ Phuong Phoeun had to borrow money to buy his latrine, and later used the income from his toilet sales commission to pay back the debt. Now that he has his own toilet, he speaks with confidence about its benefits: ‘Having a toilet is much easier and more comfortable.’