Identifying criteria to assess quality levels of shared sanitation facilities
Many slum-dwellers in Africa and South Asia live in dwellings with insufficient space for a toilet. For such people, shared sanitation facilities (SSF) are the only viable sanitation option. Yet, according to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), SSF are to be considered at best a “limited” solution and cannot be included within the acceptable category of “basic” sanitation.
There is a risk that JMP’s exclusion of shared sanitation facilities from the “basic” category, however, may perversely incentivise donor agencies and governments not to allocate resources to sanitation in informal settlements. And this exclusion overlooks the reality that, despite the difficulties of monitoring shared toilets, many are hygienic, accessible and safe. Conversely, because there is no clear definition of high-quality shared sanitation (no “minimum standard”), this can encourage some players to construct/promote/allow shared facilities of clearly inadequate quality. The QUISS project is developing the indicators required to identify the characteristics of shared toilets that are properly maintained.