Tag Archives: shared sanitation

The social dynamics around shared sanitation in an informal settlement of Lusaka, Zambia

The social dynamics around shared sanitation in an informal settlement of Lusaka, Zambia. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, December 2018.

This study explored the social dynamics affecting collective management of shared sanitation in Bauleni compound of Lusaka, Zambia. journal.jpeg

Pit latrines were predominantly shared by landlords and tenants on residential plots. However, unwelcome non-plot members also used the latrines due to a lack of physical boundaries. Not all plot members equally fulfilled their cleaning responsibilities, thereby compromising the intended benefits for those conforming.

Landlords typically decided on latrine improvements independent of tenants. Latrines were not systematically monitored or maintained, but punishment for non-conformers was proportionate to the level of infraction. There was no system in place for conflict resolution, nor local organizations to regulate the management of sanitation.

Lastly, there were few enterprises associated with peri-urban sanitation. Social capital was moderately high, and tenants were willing to invest money into improving sanitation. The social dynamics illuminated here provide an important basis for the development of a behavioural intervention targeted towards improving urban sanitation.

Shared Sanitation Management and the Role of Social Capital: Findings from an Urban Sanitation Intervention in Maputo, Mozambique

Shared Sanitation Management and the Role of Social Capital: Findings from an Urban Sanitation Intervention in Maputo, MozambiqueInt. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2222; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102222

Shared sanitation—sanitation facilities shared by multiple households—is increasingly common in rapidly growing urban areas in low-income countries. However, shared sanitation facilities are often poorly maintained, dissuading regular use and potentially increasing disease risk.

In a series of focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, we explored the determinants of shared sanitation management within the context of a larger-scale health impact evaluation of an improved, shared sanitation facility in Maputo, Mozambique. ijerph-logo

We identified a range of formal management practices users developed to maintain shared sanitation facilities, and found that management strategies were associated with perceived latrine quality.

However—even within an intervention context—many users reported that there was no formal system for management of sanitation facilities at the compound level. Social capital played a critical role in the success of both formal and informal management strategies, and low social capital was associated with collective action failure.

Shared sanitation facilities should consider ways to support social capital within target communities and identify simple, replicable behavior change models that are not dependent on complex social processes.

Is shared sanitation the answer to Maputo’s sanitation challenge?

Is shared sanitation the answer to Maputo’s sanitation challenge? Water Blog, August 20, 2018.

Poor sanitation is the all too familiar story in many expanding African cities and Mozambique’s capital city Maputo is no exception. In fact, over half of the country’s urban population lack access to even basic sanitation.

With an estimated 668 million city dwellers around the world not having access to safe sanitation, overcoming sanitation challenges in cities like Maputo will go a long way towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal for safe sanitation (SDG 6.2).


Sanitation Blocks in Charmanculo

But large numbers can sometimes obscure or make abstract the tough reality for individuals and families.

The experience of Rute Rodrigues, a widow and mother of five children living in one of many densely populated low-income neighbourhoods (known locally as ‘bairros’)’ is a common one.

As she recounts: “We had a precarious latrine that over the course of time became damaged and collapsed due to heavy rains leaving us without access to even basic sanitation”.

Read the complete article.

Shared and Public Toilets : Championing Delivery Models That Work

Shared and Public Toilets : Championing Delivery Models That Work. World Bank, August 2018.

This document provides background and guidance on how to design and implement shared, communal and public sanitation facilities, with a focus on operation and management models that support long-term service provision. worldbank.jpg

The document draws on good experiences from across the globe and reflects lessons learned from design and implementation experiences – both positive and negative – in a range of countries.

The document provides guidance for service providers (whether private or public-sector entities) as well as service authorities (i.e., those who regulate/oversee the service providers) and also has a section detailing shared and public sanitation from the user perspective, including consideration of special needs of some user groups, including people with disabilities, women, the elderly, etc.

The document includes a number of decision trees that help designers and implementers understand key tasks to be undertaken and/or decisions to be made at different steps during the design and implementation process.

In addition to the main body of the document, there are a series of annexes, which include resources to further support the design and implementation of facilities. A thorough literature review was undertaken for this work and the full list of literature reviewed is included in one of the appendixes.

Urban sanitation coverage and environmental fecal contamination: Links between the household and public environments of Accra, Ghana

Urban sanitation coverage and environmental fecal contamination: Links between the household and public environments of Accra, Ghana. PLoS One, July 2018.

Exposure to fecal contamination in public areas, especially in dense, urban environments, may significantly contribute to enteric infection risk. This study examined associations between sanitation and fecal contamination in public environments in four low-income neighborhoods in Accra, Ghana.

Soil (n = 72) and open drain (n = 90) samples were tested for Ecoli, adenovirus, and norovirus. Sanitation facilities in surveyed households (n = 793) were categorized by onsite fecal sludge containment (“contained” vs. “uncontained”) using previous Joint Monitoring Program infrastructure guidelines. Most sanitation facilities were shared by multiple households.

Associations between spatial clustering of household sanitation coverage and fecal contamination were examined, controlling for neighborhood and population density (measured as enumeration areas in the 2010 census and spatially matched to sample locations). Ecoli concentrations in drains within 50m of clusters of contained household sanitation were more than 3 log-units lower than those outside of clusters.

Further, although results were not always statistically significant, Ecoli concentrations in drains showed consistent trends with household sanitation coverage clusters: concentrations were lower in or near clusters of high coverage of household sanitation facilities—especially contained facilities—and vice versa.

Virus detection in drains and Ecoli concentrations in soil were not significantly associated with clustering of any type of household sanitation and did not exhibit consistent trends. Population density alone was not significantly associated with any of the fecal contamination outcomes by itself and was a significant, yet inconsistent, effect modifier of the association between sanitation clusters and Ecoli concentrations.

These findings suggest clustering of contained household sanitation, even when shared, may be associated with lower levels of fecal contamination within drains in the immediate public domain. Further research is needed to better quantify these relationships and examine impacts on health.

Sustainable Development Goals are leaving behind shared sanitation

Sustainable Development Goals are leaving behind shared sanitation. by Kimberly Pugel, IRC Blog, August 2017.

Political drivers, including SDG indicators, directly impact sanitation efforts on the ground.

Here we look at shared sanitation at the national, district, and household levels in Ethiopia, and why it should not be overlooked by the SDGs.

Behind a newly-erected corrugated metal fence in kebele (sub-district) #03 of Woliso woreda (district), Ethiopia, stands a sturdy cement building painted deep green. Located in a densely-populated area, its dark exterior provides a striking contrast to the enclave of brightly coloured houses surrounding it.

Yirgalem Zewude proudly manages the public latrine and shower (shown) in addition to her neighbourhood’s communal latrine. Managing a public latrine requires more time, money, and planning than a communal latrine.

Yirgalem Zewude proudly manages the public latrine and shower (shown) in addition to her neighbourhood’s communal latrine. Managing a public latrine requires more time, money, and planning than a communal latrine.

The building’s six separate doors lead to clean, recently-emptied latrine pits. Standing in front of it, it was so clearly well-maintained that I thought it had just been built. But I learned that Yirgalem Zewude, a local resident, has actually been managing this communal latrine for over 10 years.

Shared latrines like these are often the only viable way to provide sanitation services in areas where housing and people are so densely packed together; they can also be managed safely and sustainably.

However, the indicators published in the newly released Sustainable Development Goals Baseline Report by the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation by WHO and UNICEF do not count improved facilities as “basic” if they are shared between more than two households.

Read the complete article.


Shared toilets as the path to health and dignity

Shared toilets as the path to health and dignity. World Bank Water Blog, July 19, 2017.

Mollar Bosti is a crowded slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, home to 10,000 people: garment workers, rickshaw drivers, and small traders, all living side-by-side in tiny rooms sandwiched along narrow passageways.

With the land subject to monsoon flooding, and no municipal services to speak of, the people of Mollar Basti have been struggling with a very real problem: what to do with an enormous and growing amount of human faeces.

Traditionally, their ‘hanging latrines’ consisted of bamboo and corrugated metal structures suspended on poles above the ground, allowing waste to fall straight down into a soup of mud and trash below. Residents tell stories of rooms flooded with smelly muck during monsoons; outbreaks of diarrhoea and fever would quickly follow.

But conditions have improved for much of the slum. With help of a local NGO, the residents negotiated permission for improvement from a private landowner, and mapped out areas of need. Today, they proudly show visitors their pristine, well-lit community latrines and water points. They report fewer problems with flooding and disease.

Read the complete article.