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Identifying the last 10% of households practising open defecation in rural Tanzania

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Since 2017, SNV and the Government of Tanzania have been implementing the Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) programme in eight Tanzanian districts. To date, the number of households that use toilets has increased to 90%. In the period March–April 2019, SNV Tanzania undertook a household survey in the eight project districts to identify the 10% of households still practising open defecation (OD) or sharing toilets despite the concerted government and SNV sanitation interventions.

This 14-page briefing presents the findings from this survey. It shows that the majority of the households still practising OD and sharing latrines in the rural districts of Tanzania are not those commonly cited by the literature and sanitation programming – the people in poverty, the elderly people, people with disabilities, and those with other specific vulnerabilities. The majority in ‘the last mile’ are:

  • ‘Defiant’ households that have the socio-economic resources to build themselves latrines but prefer to practise OD or share toilets;
  • Socially isolated households that do not have a financially able family member who can support them;
  • Geographically isolated households that are far from information centres.
  • A relatively high percentage of ‘last mile’ households are headed by single mothers and those living in difficult terrains.

Furthermore, the study identified opportunities to increase access to sanitation among the last mile groups. These are:

  • Introduction of behaviour change re-enforcement interventions tailored to different target groups;
  • Promotion of context-specific sanitation technologies;
  • Introduction of community-led ‘social exclusion’ strategies.
Date: 17 June 2019