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Ensuring Safe Sanitation for Children: Why It's Time to Pay More Attention to Child Feces Disposal

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Although the impact of poor sanitation and hygiene is often measured by the effects on children, most sanitation and hygiene interventions target adults. Safe disposal of children’s feces is as essential as the safe disposal of adults’ feces and yet, in general, sanitation for children has been a neglected area of research. Significant knowledge gaps must be filled before comprehensive, practical, evidence based policy and program guidance can be made available.

To improve the evidence base, the Global Water Practice’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) partnered to develop profiles outlining the current child feces disposal practices of caregivers and existing interventions to improve those practices.

The analysis found that in most countries investigated, over 50 percent of households with children under age three reported that the feces of their children were unsafely disposed of. Even among households with improved toilets or latrines, some unsafe child feces disposal behavior was reported by caregivers. In almost every country analyzed, the feces of children under age three are less likely to be safely disposed of than those of the general population. Furthermore, the findings showed that the burden of child feces management is usually left to women.

Download the Research Brief on the Management of Child Feces

More information and individual country profiles on child faeces disposal are available on the WSP website.

Date: 15 July 2015