Sustainable sanitation in rural Tanzania: its measurement and determinants at village level

McCubbin, Colin Neil; (2008) Sustainable sanitation in rural Tanzania: its measurement and determinants at village level. PhD thesis, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. DOI:

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The main aims of this study were to "develop and test a classification system for sustained village sanitation uptake" and to "identify and confirm which village-level factors influence the sustained uptake of latrines". Household survey data are generally considered to be more reliable than administrative data, and in order to monitor development and identify the needs of specific locations, there is a need to be able to obtain data at a neighbourhood level rather than district or ward level. The data collection strategy developed for Phase 1 enabled household data to be collected by each village for all households, rather than a small sample, with minimal instruction from District Government staff. These data were entered onto computer and combined to generate village sanitation profiles. Individual village sanitation profile graphs (latrine acquisition curves (Smith 1988)) were produced and adding trend lines to these demonstrated that both individual village sanitation coverage levels and the rates of change of coverage could be easily quantified and thus compared. Categories of high, medium and low coverage were established and rates of change in sanitation coverage were observed to be falling, rising or constant. Combining these village sanitation characteristics led to the proposed village classification system for sustainability. Each village was duly classified as having sustained, intermediate or unsustained sanitation. The perspective of villagers, village leaders, District Government and WaterAid staff were sought and combined to formulate a list of factors perceived to influence local sanitation uptake. The sustainability classification system enabled the subsequent testing of these factors in both sustained and unsustained sanitation villages to confirm which factors proved to be statistically significant. Both physical and social factors proved to be significant for sustainable sanitation though only the social factors were seen to have the potential for influence or change. The key findings were: » Villages were able to successfully collect their own historical household sanitation data with minimal input from District Government staff. » The greatest increase in overall District sanitation coverage would result from enabling those villages classified as having intermediate or unsustained sanitation to reach their individual village MDG targets. » Replacing full/collapsed latrines is happening across the study area but not always straight away. » Sharing of household latrines between two or more households is commonplace. » Physical determinants of sustained sanitation relate to village size/status, housing density/spread, level of infrastructure, remoteness of services, distance to an urban centre, and level of bush cover within the village. Social determinants of sustained sanitation relate to the quality of village leadership, level of activity of the Village Health Committee, openness of local people to new ideas, education level of village, exposure to more than one sanitation intervention.

Item Type: Thesis
Thesis Type: Doctoral
Thesis Name: PhD
Additional Information:
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases


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