Shared toilets are (pretty much by definition) not inside your house: when you need to go, you need to go outside. So a big concern is women’s security: if you have to walk to the toilet, often in a slum with high crime levels, there’s a risk you’ll be assaulted, especially after dark.
But not all shared toilets are the same: some are better than others. For example, a shared toilet located within a fenced compound may be pretty safe.
Some fascinating research in this area has recently been completed by researchers Tess Shiras and Robert Dreibelbis of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. This research was done as a supporting component of the large-scale MapSan evaluation of the health impacts of a WSUP-led shared sanitation intervention in Maputo (Mozambique).
Tess and Rob looked at the effects on security-related psychosocial stress of moving from a poor-quality traditional latrine to a high-quality shared toilet.
To find out more, read the new Policy Brief released by the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative.
We have also recently released a new Call for researchers interested in identifying the indicator criteria for the definition of high-quality shared sanitation in urban contexts. This project will survey shared sanitation and their users in cities in Ghana, Kenya and Bangladesh, but will provide information that will be internationally relevant.
Featured image: A Maputo resident uses an improved sanitation block in Chamanculo