Providing community infrastructure - sanitation and hygiene

Providing community infrastructure - sanitation and hygiene

How can we achieve sanitation and improved hygiene for all?


  • According to UNICEF, the annual cost of meeting the sanitation MDG targets is 9.5 billion dollars. Asked why sanitation targets had faltered, Dr Cho of the World Toilet Association identified lack of funds, and political and social apathy, as causes of the failure. However, this sum is less than 1% of world military spending in 2005 and one-third of the estimated global spending on bottled water
  • About 90% of sewage and 70% of industrial waste in developing countries are discharged untreated into water courses; contaminating the waters and constituting risk to humans and other species: threatening the ecological balance of the environment (UN/WWD, 2010)
  • The impact of inadequate sanitation has financial and economic implications. The economic return on a $1 investment in sanitation is $9.1 (Unicef/IYS Fact Sheet, 2008
  • Inadequate sanitation also leads to time and effort losses. Girls bear the burden of water collection – for drinking as well as for personal and household hygiene. This can take many hours a day, leaving them with no time or energy for school. The WHO also estimates 194 million school attendance days would be gained annually if the sanitation MDG is met and diarrhoeal disease reduced.


Unicef/ International Year of Sanitation Fact Sheet (2008)
UN/World Water Day (2010)

Sanitation: world is off track for MDG target
At the current rate of progress, the world will miss the MDG target by 13%. An estimated 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open, excluding those with unimproved latrines. Unless huge efforts are made, the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation will not be halved by 2015.WHO/Unicef JMP Report (2010)

Source: Morella, Foster and Banerjee 2008

Use a pragmatic local approach, with an eye to wider environmental issues

Population that needs to gain access to an improved sanitation facility to meet the MDG target, 2006-2015 (millions)

Case study
Ethiopia-Making Community Led Total Sanitation Approach Work


  • Lobby to push sanitation up the political ladder, with decisions about where to focus policy efforts along the sanitation ladder to be informed by access to sanitation patterns and the realities of different societies and cultures
  • Stimulate demand for sanitation and behaviour change where open defecation prevails
  • Hygiene education is critical. Promoting hygiene can start a virtuous cycle that builds demand for better sanitation, raising awareness of the benefits of sanitation and establishing codes of conduct and new life standards
  • Ensure adequate supply of materials to build improved latrines, before addressing demand in settings dominated by unimproved ones


ACID (2009) Africa’s Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation. Chapter 17, Sanitation: Moving Up the Ladder.
EF (2008) Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: Special Focus on Sanitation. New York and WHO, Geneva.