Everywhere in the world, even the poorest families try to beautify their houses. Then why are low-cost latrines often so ugly, ask IRC’s Christine Sijbesma and Erick Baetings.
Christine: Ever since I have been working in the lower cost end of toilet designs I have wondered why most of them are so ugly. I have worked in rural sanitation in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and in urban sanitation in South East Asia since the 1970s. Everywhere I have seen how the poorest families also strive to beautify their living environment. In East Africa families paint decorative bands on huts and rake their yards, in India women make beautiful patterns in the sand in front of their katcha houses with coloured powder, and in Indonesian city kampung families tile their front stoops in gay colours and keep potted plants in tins.