Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development

Quality Indicators of Shared Sanitation

Child in Nairobi Slum
Child in Nairobi Slum (Foto: Linda Strande, Eawag)

Identifying criteria to determine when a shared toilet can be considered of high quality in terms of user acceptability, impact on wellbeing and other potential quality indicators.

Disparities and discrepancies in the analysis of shared sanitation within the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) global sanitation framework is a critical issue that is currently intensely debated. The present official judgement of the JMP is that shared toilets are to be considered at best a “limited” solution and cannot be included within the higher category “basic”. However, shared toilets are the only possible solution for millions of the urban poor living in low-income/informal settlements. As a result, there is a risk that the JMP’s exclusion of shared toilets from the “basic” category may perversely incentivise donor agencies and governments not to allocate resources to sanitation in these settlements.

The QUISS project is commissioned under WSUP’s (Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor) Urban Sanitation Research Initiative. Based on an extensive survey of shared toilets and their users across cities in Bangladesh, Ghana and Kenya, as well as qualitative studies, this research aims to identify key criteria of what constitutes “high quality” shared toilets in urban contexts. The analysis will also support the current agenda-setting debate.

Deliverables expected from the research are: a detailed empirical assessment of the drivers and determinants of user experience of shared toilets, and identification of the criteria of the minimum standards for “high-quality” shared sanitation. These will provide the basis for implementation decision making and for policy makers. The criteria developed will also provide the basis for high-level progress monitoring, for funding decisions, and for programme design.

Project timeline: October 2018 - April 2020

Target Countries: Kenya, Ghana and Bangladesh