The social dynamics around shared sanitation in an informal settlement of Lusaka, Zambia. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, March 2019.
This study explored the social dynamics affecting collective management of shared sanitation in the Bauleni compound of Lusaka, Zambia. In-depth interviews were conducted with landlords (n = 33) and tenants (n = 33). Elinor Ostrom’s eight design principles for the management of common-pool resources was used as a framework to analyse the data.
Social capital within plots was also assessed. Pit latrines were predominantly shared by landlords and tenants on residential plots. However, unwelcome non-plot members also used the latrines due to a lack of physical boundaries. Not all plot members fulfilled their cleaning responsibilities equally, thereby compromising the intended benefits for those conforming. Landlords typically decided on latrine improvements independent of tenants.
Latrines were not systematically monitored or maintained, but punishment for non-conformers was proportionate to the level of infraction. There was no system in place for conflict resolution, nor local organizations to regulate the management of sanitation. Lastly, there were few enterprises associated with peri-urban sanitation.
Social capital was moderately high, and tenants were willing to invest money into improving sanitation. The social dynamics illuminated here provide an important basis for the development of a behavioural intervention targeted towards improving urban sanitation.