FINISH: Financial INclusion Improves Sanitation and Health

Posted on 7 January 2015


FINISH pursues sanitation for all through an integrated model that addresses both the demand and supply side of the sanitation challenge in India. The programme works with a multi-stakeholder approach to address the entire value chain. It raises awareness on and creates demand for sanitation services amongst end-users by mobilising the supply side of sanitation, while integrating financial resources into the value chain. This includes improving quality and safety of sanitation services, reducing the price of these services and ensuring proper treatment of the waste produced.

The FINISH programme has a dedicated website:  


The goal of the programme is to deliver improved sanitation systems for 500,000 households in different states of India. In order to achieve our goal, FINISH brings together multiple stakeholders in India and the Netherlands, public and private, into one model creating a set of interlocking solutions. Multi-stakeholder collaboration is the key to success in this programme, as technological solutions alone will never be able to solve the sanitation challenge in India.

An optimal multi-stakeholder platform means bringing together the following four stakeholder groups:

  1. Households and end-users that demand sanitation services, created through behavioural change communications (BCC) with videos and other audio-visual materials.
  2. Businesses that are supported and trained to build safe and affordable toilets, provide raw materials and supplies, and turn waste into high quality products, such as nutrients, biogas and fertilisers.
  3. Financial institutions that improve access to financial services and resources, including credit and micro-insurance for households and entrepreneurs.
  4. Governments that are supported to build an enabling environment and at the same time ensure that their sanitation standards are adhered to service providers, and that subsidies can reach those without access to sanitation services.



The programme is designed with four sub-objectives vide:

  1. To provide sanitation facilities at the household level through a combination of micro-credits by MFIs with a sanitation portfolio (capacities are built under the programme) and health insurance incentives.
  2. To establish a financially sustainable sanitation improvement mechanism through public private partnership.
  3. To develop information resource base for future programmes and demonstrable indicators linking health and sanitation.
  4. To provide livelihood benefits to poorer sections and mainstream gender aspects.

 Current status

Project started in May 2009. It runs until 2016.

Project plan
To facilitate the development of a safe sanitation environment in low-income communities in rural India, FINISH Society followed six interrelated steps:

  1. Willingness to go for sanitation: behavioural change communications (BCC) with videos and other audio-visual materials are used to create willingness for sanitation at household level.
    This generates a client-centred demand for safe sanitation and sanitation products & services.
  2. Financial inclusion: the demand at household level is linked to the local financial sector (banks, microfinance institutions, cooperates, government subsidies). This mobilises financial services and resources for households and entrepreneurs via micro-finance and loans.
  3. Supply side of safe sanitation: the client-centred demand for sanitation amongst households is matched to the supply side: local businesses. Local entrepreneurs are trained to improve the quality of sanitation facilities, make it available for households and reuse and recycle waste into new marketable products.
  4. Increased number of sanitation assets for community health: community health can only be realised when everyone in the community has access to sanitation facilities. In this fourth step, we therefore promote higher densities in the communities, by making result-based government subsidies available to partners when achieving sanitation densities higher than 75%.
  5. Turning waste into marketable products: reuse of human waste is important to turn waste into high quality products, such as nutrients, biogas and organic fertilisers. In order to safely reuse human waste it needs to be processed into products. In this fifth step, this is mostly done and marketed at household level.
  6. Sustainability of the programme and usage: sustainable usage of human waste is promoted through marketing and financial incentives. Different methods of incentivising are tested to maintain usage sustainability.


In the first 5 years of the programme, this already resulted in:

  • Improved sanitation: every three minutes 1 toilet is constructed and used. In five years time, already 300.000 toilets of our total objective of 500.000 were developed
  • Local business development: more than 3000 jobs have been created. This also stimulates women empowerment, as many new jobs are typical female jobs. Community mobilisation tends to be a typical job for women, but many women are also active as helpers to masons
  • Sanitation densities: more than 75% sanitation density in 717 villages in different states in India was reached.
  • Financial inclusion: between 10 - 20 times leverage grant funding was reached. This means that for every euro funded by the Dutch government, 20 euro’s are generated locally. In the last 5 years, a total amount of 38 million is generated locally.

Spin off
Sustainability is the key focus area of our work. We want to build value chains in waste and sanitation that reach scale without external funding. FINISH Society, in addition to managing the assets built up in the programme and enabling the programme to run independently, therefore established a social enterprise: the FINISH Services and Management Company (FSMC).

FSMC aggregates household demand for sanitation and translates this into bulk purchases of material and into actual construction. The organisation functions as a facilitator of micro insurance between the local partner and the insurance company. It furthermore valorises products of the value chain, such as organic nutrients, compost and biogas. 

The main business model of this enterprise is based on the philosophy of economies of scale: being a large and regular buyer of cement, pans, pipes, doors and roofing material, FSMC is able to get sizeable client benefits, which it partially passes on to the households and partially uses to sustain its own operations.  Large parts of the proceedings of this organisation flow directly back into FINISH Society to continue awareness raising activities and demand generation for sanitation in the communities. This safeguards the sustainability of the programme in India.

Lessons learned
Development of a sanitation value chain: more than 10 tonne human waste was converted into marketable compost. In addition, over 1,000 toilet-linked-biogas-units have been constructed. As a result, cattle owning households no longer require firewood for cooking.

Technologies used

Double leach pit, septic tank and soak pit, urine diversion dehydration toilet, toilet linked to biogas. 

Project location

Project partners

  • Made Blue
  • Sweco Nederland