Understanding the Barriers and Opportunities for Effective Management of Shared Sanitation in Low-Income Settlements—The Case of Kumasi, Ghana
Adjei, Kwaku Amaning
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Improved sanitation for all is a daunting task for low-income countries, and shared toilets often provide an alternative to private household sanitation for most urban residents. This study sought to provide better understanding of the existing barriers and opportunities for improved management of shared sanitation. The study used focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with 70 users (landlords and tenants) of shared sanitation in Kumasi, Ghana to assess barriers and opportunities of “high-quality” shared sanitation. The commonly used toilet facilities were dry toilets—Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pit latrine and Ventilated Improved Pit latrines; and flush systems—water closet and pour flush connected to septic tanks. Between 2 and 21 households, or 4 and 84 people, shared one facility. Participants’ description of “high-quality” (Ideal) shared sanitation was centred on cleanliness, user behaviour, smell, and user crowding. They also identified challenges of shared sanitation as overcrowded users, poor user behaviours, conflicts among users, and high cost associated with frequent desludging. However, opportunities for improvement included users’ preference for shared toilets due to enjoyed benefits, existing facility management practices, and mutual understanding among users (tenants and landlords). Interventions and policy guidelines to influence behaviour change of shared sanitation users are proposed and are intended to be delivered by local government and users.