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"Someone Should be There to Take Care of It": A Case Study of Users' Views of Managed Shared Sanitation Facilities in Jharkhand, India.


The Sustainable Development Goals have set an ambitious target to end open defecation by 2030 by building private household toilets. These toilets are categorized based on quality indicators. However, toilets that are shared among households are considered "limited," disincentivizing governments and implementers from investing in this infrastructure despite being more appropriate in certain contexts. Furthermore, unlike private toilets, shared toilets are not distinguished based on their quality. As such, there is a need to understand what attributes constitute well-managed shared toilets. These types of facilities could play an important role in helping people move up the sanitation ladder away from open defecation in certain contexts. Therefore, we conducted 41 one-on-one in-depth interviews with users of managed shared sanitation facilities. We found that maintenance and accessibility are key indicators of well-managed shared sanitation. Maintenance includes the provision of water for flushing and self-cleaning, cleaning, and high-quality built infrastructure. Accessibility is defined by the distance people have to walk to reach the facility, the amount of time they have to wait in line, and design features of the facility that encourage use. These findings could help distinguish managed versus unmanaged shared sanitation and could help inform global sanitation policies.

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