Aims

The primary sector influence aims of the present research are to generate evidence that can support judgements on minimum criteria for high-quality shared sanitation, internationally and in the three countries, and to provide evidence-based support to the development of relevant international and national policy documents that (in their turn) influence the investments of stakeholders including national governments and development funders.

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Community engagement in one of Visakhapatnam low-income areas

How to improve sanitation across an entire city: the case of Visakhapatnam

The Skoll Foundation has published a blog on WSUP’s highly successful project in Visakhapatnam and how its experiences can inform future work towards achieving universal access to sanitation in India. By Neil Jeffery, Chief Executive, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) Half of the one billion people in the world who still defecate in the […]


Communal sanitation block

Shared sanitation: benefitting residents in Maputo and beyond

The World Bank has published a blog on WSUP’s work on shared sanitation in Maputo, Mozambique, demonstrating how well-designed shared facilities can make a difference to people’s dignity, privacy and health. The feature coincides with World Water Week, where the World Bank, WSUP and other partners discussed “Shared sanitation: when individual toilets aren’t enough”. In […]


Communal WASH facilities in Kalshi slum, Dhaka

How can we define high-quality shared sanitation in cities?

What does your ideal toilet look like? Gold-plated, maybe musical? Or a loo with a view? Whatever your personal idiosyncrasies, it’s unlikely that you’re imagining a toilet that you are forced to share with hundreds of other people throughout the day. But for that’s the reality for millions of people living in densely-populated urban areas […]


Shared toilets are often dirty and poorly maintained: but for some slum-dwellers living in tiny dwellings, they’re the only option. So what are the requirements for high-quality shared sanitation?

This Policy Brief outlines a 3-country research project starting in October 2018 under the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative, aiming to identify trackable criteria for high-quality shared sanitation. This research will deliver detailed empirical assessment of the determinants of user experience, and analysis to identify criteria that enable definition of minimum standards for shared sanitation.

This Policy Brief reports a research project that identified ways of improving enforcement of by-laws requiring urban landlords to provide acceptable sanitation facilities for their tenants. In Ga West, as in other Ghanaian municipalities, by-laws requiring landlords to provide adequate sanitation exist: but they are rarely enforced.

Nearly half of landlords are unaware of the existence of such by-laws. Most tenants (93%) who are aware of the by-law have not lodged any complaint with the relevant authority (the Environmental Health & Sanitation Department), for fear of eviction.

The key barriers to the construction of household and compound toilets in Ghana are lack of capital, limited land space, and the wide availability of public toilets. Ga West Municipal Authority (the regulator) reports a number of critical bottlenecks to enforcement, including a lack of financial resources and incentives.

Findings from the Maputo Sanitation (‘MapSan’) project in Mozambique

This Policy Brief summarises the findings of a qualitative research study which looked at causes and levels of psychosocial stress among users of traditional shared latrines and high-quality shared toilets in Maputo (Mozambique). The findings suggest that high-quality shared toilets can substantially reduce feelings of stress associated with fear of robbery, physical assault or sexual assault when using the toilet.

However, fear of violence was not totally eliminated, reflecting high crime levels in these communities, and suggesting that additional measures (such as improved compound fencing) may be necessary.

This research was led by Tess Shiras and Robert Dreibelbis of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and was funded under a grant to the MapSan project by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.