The Drivers of Demand for Ecological Sanitation & Barriers Affecting its Adoption in Low-income and High Population Density Urban Areas.

Chunga, R; (2016) The Drivers of Demand for Ecological Sanitation & Barriers Affecting its Adoption in Low-income and High Population Density Urban Areas. PhD thesis, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. DOI:

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This thesis examines sanitation technology choices of property owners, their attitude towards ecological sanitation (alternative sanitation technology) and local adaptation strategies they adopt where there is concern about space for replacing pit latrines. Data were collected from two cities in Malawi through mixed methods research which targeted 1,300 property owners from 27 low-income and high population density urban settlements. The results showed that nearly 100% of the property owners liked the concept of ecological sanitation because it offers users technologies that are designed to be emptied and reused (permanent facilities), less likely to collapse, safer for children to use and less smelly. However, only 13% had intention to adopt ecological sanitation but when microfinance for sanitation was offered, the proportion of property owners that had intention to adopt ecological sanitation increased to 32%. Ecological sanitation was perceived as unaffordable and potentially unworkable as a shared sanitation solution due to its small chamber size and the inconvenience of emptying its vaults and handling human excreta. Where there is concern about space for replacing pit latrines, property owners prefer to adapt by changing the way they build, operate and maintain pit latrines to adoption of ecological sanitation. Adaptation strategies property owners adopt are easier and cheaper to implement and are compatible with the way property owners and their tenants have traditionally been building, operating and maintaining sanitation facilities. The results suggest that as cities rapidly urbanise, property owners will prefer to address the limitations of pit latrines by improving the build quality of the pit latrines and changing the way they operate and maintain them to adoption of alternative sanitation technologies. To reach scale, alternative sanitation technologies should be affordable, easy to use, compatible with users from multiple households and compatible with the needs and practices of the target audience. However, without microfinance for sanitation, the promotion of alternative sanitation technologies will not significantly increase the proportion of urban residents gaining access to sustainable sanitation.

Item Type: Thesis
Thesis Type: Doctoral
Thesis Name: PhD
Contributors: Ensink, JH (Thesis advisor); Brown, J (Thesis advisor); Jenkins, M (Thesis advisor);
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
Research Group: Environmental Health Group
Funders: Department of International Development (DFID) - SHARE Research Consortium
Copyright Holders: Richard Chunga


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