Sustaining sanitation services for 20 years can cost 5-20 times more than building a latrine
Updated - Monday 19 November 2012
Expenditure on sanitation in countries where WASHCost has carried out research is too low, and is focused almost entirely on the capital costs of building latrines. There is a striking difference between the expenditure required to provide a basic service and what is actually being spent.
Too little is being spent on stimulating and sustaining demand for hygienic latrine use and on ensuring that latrines are kept clean and in good repair.
The absence of arrangements for pit emptying and measures to ensure environmental protection is adversely affecting service levels.
Although governments have policies to develop safe sanitation, and programmes to build latrines, in rural areas, sanitation is largely left to families. In India—where the Government recently increased subsidies for poor families—there is an unaddressed gap between the number of people with access to latrines and the number who use them.
Expenditure on keeping latrines clean and in good condition is generally far too low. However, there exists a constituency of families who highly value their facilities and regard them as a worthwhile family investment. It would be of great benefit to identify the key factors that motivate these families and to try to replicate that in stimulating demand.
These are the findings of WASHCost research in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique and the state of Andhra Pradesh in India.