Tag Archives: open defecation

Exploring “The Remote” and “The Rural”: Open Defecation and Latrine Use in Uttarakhand, India

Exploring “The Remote” and “The Rural”: Open Defecation and Latrine Use in Uttarakhand, India. World Development, January 2017. Authors: Kathleen O’Reilly, Richa Dhanju, Abhineety Goel.

Highlights

  • Remote places are different than rural places due to physical and social distance.
  • Remoteness significantly contributes to practices of open defecation.
  • Structural inequalities produce conditions that impede sanitation uptake.
  • Addressing infrastructural causes of remoteness is key to reducing open defecation.
  • Reducing multi-scalar, socio-spatial inequalities can lead to latrine adoption.

Open defecation is a major global health problem. The number of open defecators in India dwarfs that of other states, and most live in rural places. Open defecation is often approached as a problem scaled at the site of the individual, who makes a choice not to build and/or use a toilet.

Attempts to end rural open defecation by targeting individuals, like social marketing or behavior change approaches, often ignore the structural inequalities that shape rural residents’ everyday lives. Our study explores the question, “What is the role of remoteness in sustaining open defecation in rural India?” We deploy the concept of remoteness as an analytical tool that can capture everyday practices of open defecation as a function of physical and social distance.

Using ethnographic methods, we interviewed and observed 70 participants in four villages in Uttarakhand, India over a three-month period in 2013. We find that remoteness in general, and its lived nuances, form a context for prevalent open defecation. Structural inequalities across space will need to be addressed to make latrine building and usage viable in remote places.

 

Progress on CLTSH – Findings from a national review of rural sanitation in Ethiopia – UNICEF

Progress on CLTSH – Findings from a national review of rural sanitation in Ethiopia: WASH Learning Note. December 2016.

KEY POINTS

  • Rural sanitation coverage in Ethiopia continues to improve. The survey found on average 68% latrine usage, similar to the 2015 JMP estimate
  • The majority (89%) of household toilets are unimproved
  • There are strong regional disparities in coverage. 5 regions have over 50%, whilst in 3 regions open defecation is still dominant
  • CLTSH is not always implemented as intended. There are regional variations and some aspects of the triggering and follow-up are omitted
  • The Post-ODF follow-up of the CLTSH approach is limited. Very few communites are recorded as having reached ’level 2’ of ODF
  • Handwashing Rates are low. Only 19% of respondents were found to wash hands at all critical times, and only 45% after using the toilet

 

Ending open defecation: The drive must go beyond mascots, jingles – even toilets

Ending open defecation: The drive must go beyond mascots, jingles – even toilets. Scroll.In, January 3, 2017.

indiasan

Image credit: NDMC handout

Even as Mumbai enlists the star power of Salman Khan to end open defecation and Delhi has its turbaned Swachh Sewak mascots patrolling the streets, whistling at and fining the guilty, the underlying lacunae that make people defecate in the open see little discussion and go almost completely unaddressed. A problem that should not take more than a year to be solved nationally, if addressed in mission mode, drags on through one scheme after the other.

The populist efforts are driven more by the aim of safeguarding the sensibilities of the privileged than out of a feeling of empathy for those who must go through the indignity of open defecation. A sincere desire to solve the problem is wanting. The Swachh Bharat Mission makes the right noises but lacks in empowering municipal officials adequately. Nice videos and musical jingles can only take you so far. The real difference comes from silent work carried out by a taskforce staffed with deeply committed and talented people.

In the urban context, especially, the issue becomes more complex. Land is scarce and has higher economic value, and urban planning and equitable housing policies have been neglected for a very long time. Open defecation arises from a neglect of these fundamental issues rather than just from the absence of adequate toilets. While we decide what we want to do with planning and governing our cities better, in the interim, it should not be difficult to construct a high number of high quality toilets, which become a natural attraction for those defecating in the open.

Read the complete article.

Higher incidents of rape in India linked to open defecation

Higher incidents of rape in India linked to open defecation: Study. Indian Express, December 15, 2016.

According to the study, women who use open defecation sites are twice as likely to get raped compared to women using a home toilet. 

open-defecation-l

The researchers looked at the latest Indian National Family Health Survey data and analysed a nationally representative sample of 75,000 women to answer questions about access to a home toilet and their exposure to different types of violence.

Women in India who use open defecation are prone to sexual violence and infrastructure improvements can provide them with some level of protection, a US university researcher has said. “Open defecation places women at uniquely higher risk of one type of sexual violence: non-partner,” says Approva Jadhav from the University of Michigan in a research paper published in the latest issue of Bio-Med Central Journal.

“Women who use open defecation sites like open fields or the side of a railway track are twice as likely to get raped when compared with women using a home toilet,” the study says. The research results, which suggest that women who use open defecation have twice the odds of non-partner sexual violence (NPSV) than women who use household toilets, indicate that infrastructure improvements can provide women with some level of protection against NPSV, it says.

“Our findings provide further rationale for NGOs and the Indian government to expand sanitation programmes, and raise new questions about the potentially protective role of sanitation facilities in other contexts beyond India,” the paper says.

Read the complete article.

The Community Incentive Model: Towards an Open Defecation Free Chhattisgarh

The Community Incentive Model: Towards an Open Defecation Free Chhattisgarh, 2016. Institute of Development Studies.

The Indian Governments Swachh Bharat Mission offers a 12,000 rupee incentive to Below Poverty Line and certain Above Poverty Line households without a toilet. However, translating the incentive into successful sanitation improvements has been a challenge. Innovative and customisable ways, ideas and processes are needed to ensure community buy-in and achieve greater ownership of the process and high rates of toilet use in an environmentally safe manner. vijeta_rao_chhattisgarh_report-draft_final-pdf

To date the State of Chhattisgarh has seen great successes in ending open defecation and ensuring usage of toilets. With two districts and over fifty blocks declared ODF, Chhattisgarh has also shown strong commitments to community-led processes and has seen a number of innovations, among them the Community Incentive Method.

This method has evolved to meet the specific requirements of the State and has shown promise especially in areas where there is a mix of households who are eligible and those who are not eligible for the incentive. Through this method, Chhattisgarh has paved the path for many more districts, both in terms of innovations around the incentive as well as to customise solutions for their own state.

This Learning Paper documents the Community Incentive Method. It focuses on how and why it evolved, how it works, the challenges of using a similar approach and recommendations.

Sanitation projects will go down the toilet unless we ask people what they really want

Sanitation projects will go down the toilet unless we ask people what they really want. The Conversation, November 27, 2016.

Countries have a lot of work to do to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. But development projects don’t always go the way you expect.

A resettlement project in Laos provided taps and toilets as a way to improve hygiene and health outcomes for communities.

stages

Stages of water development project planning. GCI/UQ

Three years after resettlement a project team formed to address health issues found that the new brick toilet facilities were being used to store rice. The practice of “open defecation” was continuing in nearby farmland.

The community members explained that keeping rice dry and safe from animals was their highest priority. They also thought it was more hygienic for faeces to be washed away, rather than concentrated in one place such as a toilet.

How did this mismatch occur? There had been limited community participation, no awareness-raising and no sense of community ownership generated during the project planning. Getting these things right will be fundamental to achieving any of the development goals.

Read the complete article.

Can collective action strategies motivate behavior change to reduce open defecation in rural India?

Can collective action strategies motivate behavior change to reduce open defecation in rural India? 2016. 

Authors:

  • Payal Hathi, research institute for compassionate economics (r.i.c.e.)
  • Dean Spears,Economics and Planning Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi; Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University; r.i.c.e.
  • Diane Coffey, Economics and Planning Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi; Woodrow Wilson School of Public andInternational Affairs at Princeton University; r.i.c.e.

The world’s remaining open defecation is increasingly concentrated in rural India. The Indian government’s efforts to reduce open defecation by providing subsidies for latrine construction have been largely unsuccessful in addressing the problem.

It is now clear that behavior change must be the priority if progress on ending open defecation is to be made. While community-led strategies have proven effective in various developing country contexts, there are serious reasons to question whether similar methods can work in rural India.

Through both quantitative and qualitative analyses, we find
that strict social hierarchies that continue to govern daily interactions in rural life today obstruct the spirit of cooperation upon which such methods rely.

Additionally, caste-based notions of purity and pollution make the simple latrines used all over the developing world unattractive to rural Indians. In acontext where people identify most closely with their caste and religious groups rather than their geographical villages, our findings suggest that a more nuanced understanding of the idea of “community” is required. More experimentation, both with community-led and other strategies, is
needed in order to effectively move from open defecation to latrine use in rural India.