Tag Archives: non-use of latrines

Peru: sanitation – two out of three installations not used!

Such is the observation made by “Alternative Pro-poor Sanitation Solutions in Peru” (APSS), despite the numerous sanitation investments of the last few years for families, especially the poorest ones. The program supported by the Foundation Ensemble and undertaken in collaboration with the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) begins with this fact to act simultaneously on supply and demand. On the one side, awareness actions are undertaken to explain the challenges and opportunities of sanitation, and stimulate demand. Access to credit is facilitated. On the other side, activities focus on developing the supply locally, engage institutions and suppliers, and provide them with the means of meeting the evolving demand. Overall, five pilot zones are being studied, and the results are already encouraging.

Find out more:

Source: Fondation Ensemble newsletter, no. 11, Apr 2009

India, Andhra Pradesh: toilets lie in neglect

In a country where a huge chunk of population defecates in the open, Andhra Pradesh has grabbed the dubious record of being the state with the lowest number of  ‘working’ […] toilets.

The irony is that the state topped in constructing the maximum number of […] toilets in the country [420,000  since 2002], but almost 70 per cent of them are non-functional as they have been turned into godowns, kitchens, restrooms and play areas for children. The end result is that Andhra Pradesh has 85 per cent of its population defecating in the open, the highest number for any state.

[…] “A recent survey has revealed the dismal reality that only 30 per cent of the toilets that we have constructed are being used,” [said] Andhra Pradesh Water and Sanitation Mission chief engineer M Ram Mohan.

The other findings of the survey are that the majority of beneficiaries are not using the toilets as they do not know how to use them, [the toilets are]  not user-friendly, [and are poorly constructed].

The [central government]  had allotted Rs 700 crore and the state had earmarked Rs 250 crore for construction of 1.5 crore individual household sanitary latrines (IHSL) by 2012. “With 42 lakh IHSLs already built and most of them being dysfunctional, the money is literally going down the drain,” an official said while expressing concern over the lack of political and administrative initiative to improve sanitation.

Not only that, the Communication and Capacity Development Unit (CCDU), which was established to provide HRD support to the mission and train village-level officials, has failed to deliver its duties including providing training to un-unskilled masons and disseminate information and education to the people on the use of latrines

Source: Patan Afzal Babu, Times of India, 26 Dec 2008

India: public hygiene initiative for villages has not worked, says NGO

Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP), which translates as clean village prize, was launched five years ago to promote sanitation in rural India with a [Rs 500,000] cash reward for villages [which achieve 100% sanitation coverage in terms of (a) 100% sanitation coverage of individual house holds, (b) 100% school sanitation coverage (c) free from open defecation and (d) clean environment maintenance].

The public hygiene initiative hasn’t quite worked the way it was meant to, according to a study by a not-for-profit organization, The Action Research Unit, or Taru, supported by Unicef.

[T]he study, with a sample size of 7,100 households and carried out between January and April 2008, showed that in 162 villages that had received the first and second lots of the prize in 2004-05 and 2005-06, the practice had resurfaced, said Ranjan Verma, director of Taru.

NGP is part of the government’s Total Sanitation Campaign.

[T]he monitoring system and social mobilization had been so heavily geared towards earning the Nirmal Gram status and the cash reward that comes with it that the gains were being frittered away, he said.

In October [2008], President Pratibha Patil gave away the NGP to a total of 4,278 gram panchayats, or village councils.

[…] Toilets clogging up because of a lack of maintenance back-up and an insufficient number of trained masons were cited by [Bindeshwar] Pathak, [founder of Sulabh International], and Verma as reasons impeding the scheme.

The Taru study was carried out to assess the impact of the programme in 162 villages spread across Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Besides the 7,100 households, it covered 500 schools and child- and mother-care centres known as anganwadis. The study found about 15% of households did not have access to a toilet and [practised open defecation]. “This is because within a panchayat there are houses which are either on the fringes or belong to those who don’t get along with the village ‘establishment’,” said Verma.

And as many as 34% of the households that had constructed toilets did not use them regularly.

See also: Effectiveness of Indian incentives for rural sanitation questioned, Source Bulletin, Nov 2007

Source: Rajdeep Datta Roy, liveMint.com, 16 Nov 2008

Bhutan: despite the “toilet revolution”, high coverage has not lead to high use

Having worked as a primary health care professional for over a decade, Dr. Damber Kumar Nirola, Psychiatrist at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) has “witnessed a slow but steady “toilet revolution” over the years”. He personally witnessed the “the evolution of toilets from open fields to gunny sack structures to simple pits to ventilated pits to pour flush to water closet, and the most recent western type of commode”.

Dr. Nirola’s “earliest recollection of a “toilet” was a relatively flat stone located some fifty feet away from our house, which could fit at least three children at once. This stone was positioned in such a way that faeces would fall directly to the slope below. Open defecation was a problem only when it rained; we’d get soaked and also fall prey to leeches. Another problem were stray mongrels, which would appear behind us without warning to devour the fresh excreta, at times even offering to clean us up!”

In the 1990s a sanitation campaign was launched in Bhutan, which resulted by 2000 in “almost 100% latrine coverage”.

“In spite of such progress”, Dr. Nicola laments, “we still find our public toilets clogged with sticks and stones, and with faeces scattered on our footpaths even in cities! Something is amiss! Are we slipping back in time or have we failed to evolve with our toilets?”

“Although the provision of latrines is relatively high, the conditions are very poor and the amount of usage is low, ” says Ugyen Rinzine, chief engineer of the public health engineering division. Although rural people had adequate knowledge on water and sanitation-related diseases, there was little change in their behaviour. “This is because of a lack of appropriate communication approach with rural communities and the absence of choice of latrine technologies.”

In May 2008, the public health engineering division organised a workshop on rural sanitation, which discussed plans to implement a community led total sanitation (CLTS) strategy and proposals for a national rural sanitation and hygiene programme. A scoping study conducted by SNV Bhutan in 2007 found that the sanitation situation in community schools and religious institutions (temples and monastic schools) in Bhutan was poor.

The non-use of sanitation facilities is illustrated by the case of Trongsa town. “Despite having two ‘pay and use’ toilets, which have been out of use for about six years”. “Today, only a few dogs visit the one storey toilet in Thruepang” and “the municipal sweeper uses the other toilet as a residence”.

The public toilets were not used because of their location outside the main town area and because people weren’t willing to pay. “Although the municipal office had planned to repair and reuse the facilities, the municipality did not have funds”.

Sources: Dr Damber Kumar Nirola, Kuensel Online, 11 Aug 2008 ; Tandin Wangchuk, Kuensel Online, 01 May 2008 ; Tashi Dema, Kuensel Online, 07 Jul 2008

See also: Training on participatory approaches, Bhutan, IRC, Dec 2007

Nepal: Distillery in toilet, defecation on road

There are toilets in every house in the remote settlement of Tistung [Makwanpur, district] but the roads and courtyards stink due to open defecation. No one in the area defecates in the toilet but on roads and courtyards. They use the concrete toilets near their houses as a storeroom for fodder and firewood or use it as a distillery to produce local wine.


“We can defecate anywhere in the open but the fodder will get rotten if we do not keep them in the toilets safe from rain”, a local resident said.

Read more: Pratap Bista, Kantipur / NGO Forum, 2 June 2008