To Let or Toilet? Is that the question? The hidden challenges of selling sanitation

Schaub-Jones, D. (2009)

Published in: 2009

Publisher:
Building Partnerships for Development (BPD), Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), UK

Author:
Schaub-Jones, D.

Uploaded by:
SuSanA secretariat

Partner profile:
common upload


6212 Views
54 Downloads


 Location of library entry

Content - Summary

This paper discusses the issues surrounding tenancy and sanitation, with a focus on responsibility for provision and how to bring about reforms.

Sanitation provision within households is widely viewed as a private matter. As the UN’s Water and Sanitation Task Force have noted “sanitation coverage often starts at the private level and depends largely on investment and behavioral decisions made at the household level, often entirely outside of government” (UN, 2004). Many decisions are made like this, from whether to buy a mobile phone to whether to invest in a dishwasher. The challenge with sanitation is that it has strong public good elements; governments have for many years encouraged households (through persuasion or compulsion) to invest in better sanitation and adopt more hygienic practices.

As the Task Force also noted “achieving the MDG target for sanitation is as much a matter of unlocking demand at the household level as it is of increasing supply” (UN, 2004). Two in?vogue sanitation approaches highly recommended by the same Task Force seek to do just this – these are sanitation marketing (where better ways are found to market and deliver sanitation goods and services) and community?led total sanitation (where communities are urged to become ‘free of open?defecation’ and often rewarded for doing so). Both seek to unlock demand by ‘selling sanitation’ – the first in a more market?driven way, the second by provoking shame and disgust with current practice and working through community networks and peer pressure to generate change. Households are urged to make sewer connections, or more often, invest in new or better latrines.

What can we learn then, both from 60 years of development assistance and from the way towns and cities in the North evolved?

1) Firstly, pay close attention to people’s incentives to invest. Crucial early questions for any sanitation programme should be ‘whose land is it anyway?’, followed by ‘whose roof is it anyway?’. From one place to another, differing answers will mean very different roles for sanitation champions.

2) Secondly, although sanitation improvement may be largely a household decision, the public sector can play a very strong influencing role – whether through compulsion, persuasion or a mix of the two. The urban sanitation sector can learn better how others (housing providers, slum upgraders) have asked and answered ‘whose land and roof is it anyway?’. Making compulsion and persuasion work will involve a diverse set of stakeholders; those selling sanitation are going to have to be open?minded and find creative ways to engage them.

3) Thirdly, when selling sanitation, do not think only of improving household?level facilities. The MDGs are not the be?all and end?all. Where tenure and tenancy issues complicate household investment there are very strong arguments for public resources to be used in other ways. Decision?makers may need to revisit their idea of what constitutes a sanitation service and the appropriate role of the public sector therein.

Bibliographic information

Schaub-Jones, D. (2009). To Let or Toilet? Is that the question? The hidden challenges of selling sanitation. Building Partnerships for Development (BPD), Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), UK

Filter tags

English Sub-Saharan Africa

Download

To Let or Toilet? Is that the question? The hidden challenges of selling sanitation

Format: pdf file
Size: 0.38 MB

Share this page on    


Follow us on    

SuSanA Partners  currently 382 partners

Sanitation events

SuSanA newsletter

Stay informed about the activities of SuSanA and its partners. The SuSanA newsletter is sent out around four times per year. It contains information about news, events, new partners, projects, discussions and publications of the SuSanA network.

Subscribe to newsletter »

Latest tweets mentioning SuSanA

Tweets mentioning SuSanA »

31st SuSanA Meeting

The 31st SuSanA meeting - the second time online - will take place from August 16th to August 20th 2021. It is organised by the SuSana Secretariat with support and contributions from SuSanA Partners, Members, Working Groups and Regional Chapters. 

Click here to get to the Meeting Page!

SuSanA meetings

Jobs

 


close  

 

Resources and publications

Our library has more than 3,000 publications, factsheets, presentations, drawings etc. from many different organisations. It continues to grow thanks to the contributions from our partners.

Add item to library »

The three links below take you to special groups of items in the library for more convenient access:

Projects

The project database contains nearly 400 sanitation projects of many different organizations dealing with research, implementation, advocacy, capacity development etc. Advanced filtering functions and a global map are also available. Information on how and why this database was created is here.

People working for SuSanA partners can add their own projects through their partner profile page. You might need your SuSanA login upgraded for this purpose. Please contact us if you would like to add a project.


Trainings, conference and events materials

Missed important conferences or courses? Catch up by using their materials for self study. These materials have been kindly provided by SuSanA partners.

Regional chapters

Use the map or the search tool to access the most relevant information and knowledge products for your region or country. This includes relevant resources, events, partners or projects.

Shit flow diagrams (SFDs), excreta flow diagrams

Shit flow diagrams (SFDs) help to visualize excreta management in urban settings. Access SFDs and more through the SFD Portal.

Emersan eCompendium

 


close  

 

Discussion forum

Share knowledge, exchange experiences, discuss challenges, make announcements, ask questions and more. Hint: Your discussion forum login is the same as your SuSanA login. More about the forum's philosophy »


Integrated content

We are hosting content from some other communities of practice and information-sharing portals. This section also provides a link to SuSanA's Sanitation Wikipedia initiative.

Suggest content to add »

SuSanA partners

Not yet a SuSanA partner? Show your organisation's support to SuSanA's vision and engage in  knowledge sharing by becoming partners.

Apply to become a partner »


Individual membership

Register as an individual member of SuSanA free of charge. As a member you can interact with thousands of sanitation enthusiasts on the discussion forum.  You can also get engaged in one of our 13 working groups and our regional chapters. Our FAQs explain the benefits further.

By getting a SuSanA login you can fully participate in the SuSanA community!

Register as a member

Login


Forgot your password?

 


close