Private management of facilities involves contracting out the operations and maintenance of the community toilet to an external agency. Compared to community management, private management can have the following defining features:
Protocol driven and standardized across locations to match contractual obligations
Previous knowledge and expertise, meaning onboarding and training is not as required
Capacity to handle O&M of multiple facilities
Greater cost-effectiveness due to larger scale of operations
Alongside these positives, there are some challenges
Figuring out the process and paperwork involved in identifying and finalizing an agency – Especially for a government agency, the process of finalizing and floating a tender can take a long time
Ensuring that private managers can make enough revenue to make the project worthwhile. For toilets that function as both community and public toilets, this may be possible. For other toilets that are located within smaller and medium communities, this would be much more difficult without extra grant funding.
Being the outsider managing a community toilet can also be a challenge for private managers. In case of complaints or issues, private managers would likely lack the local relationships to resolve these problems.
The Sammaan experience with private management
All Project Sammaan community toilet facilities are managed by the communities themselves. But, our original plan was to actually compare private management to community management to determine which model is more effective.
Our team consulted a few agencies in the area to understand their interest in managing community toilets, and their financial expectations. While the agencies showed interest, we found that they expected a very high level of daily user traffic (similar to public toilets) and a sizable amount of grant funding from the government on a monthly basis. Since neither of these could be guaranteed, we could not pursue the private management option.
We still developed a Request for Proposal template that could be used to identify agencies for operations and maintenance of community toilets. This template is linked in the resources below. Given our experience, private management for community toilet facilities would mostly be viable if there are a good number of facilities (5 or more) located in the same area of the city and at least half of them are expected to have high user traffic.
RFP template for selecting O&M agency