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A community based program promotes sanitation

Author

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  • María Laura Alzúa

    (CEDLAS-FCE-UNLP, CONICET.)

  • Habiba Djebbari

    (Aix Marseille University (Aix Marseille School of Economics) EHESS & CNRS.)

  • Amy J. Pickering

    (Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University.)

Abstract

Basic sanitation facilities are still lacking in large parts of the developing world, engendering serious environmental health risks. Interventions commonly deliver in-kind or cash subsidies to promote private toilet ownership. In this paper, we assess an intervention that provides information and behavioral incentives to encourage villagers in rural Mali to build and use basic latrines. Using an experimental research design and carefully measured indicators of use, we find a sizeable impact from this intervention: latrine ownership and use almost doubled in intervention villages, and open defecation was reduced by half. Our results partially attribute these effects to increased knowledge about cheap and locally available sanitation solutions. They are also associated with shifts in the social norm governing sanitation. Taken together, our findings, unlike previous evidence from other contexts, suggest that a progressive approach that starts with ending open defecation and targets whole communities at a time can help meet the new Sustainable Development Goal of ending open defecation.

Suggested Citation

  • María Laura Alzúa & Habiba Djebbari & Amy J. Pickering, 2018. "A community based program promotes sanitation," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0228, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  • Handle: RePEc:dls:wpaper:0228
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Laura Abramovsky & Britta Augsburg & Melanie Lührmann & Francisco Oteiza & Juan Pablo Rud, 2018. "Community matters: heterogenous impacts of a sanitation intervention," IFS Working Papers W18/28, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Revilla, Ma. Laarni D. & Qu, Fangqi & Seetharam, K E & Rao, Bhanoji, 2021. "“Sanitation” in the Top Development Journals: A Review," ADBI Working Papers 1253, Asian Development Bank Institute.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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