Measuring improved sanitation?

Context matters!

…definitions of ‘improved’ are contested and controversial and do not take into account cultural and local perceptions of what works or not. Many toilets built in the course of Community Led Total Sanitationinterventions would not count as ‘improved’ because they may just be pits in the ground, and not with slabs or pour flushes. Similarly shared toilets/ latrines do not count as ‘improved’ (although governments like Ghana decided to consider the installation of shared sanitation as an improvement). Measurement of MDG progress is by averages which say little about regional variations and variations between socio-economic group or by gender

And some advice for donors

…donors also need to think outside of the MDG box in a more joint up way and break down conventional sectoral barriers. Water and sanitation need to be mainstreamed in wider development, public health and poverty reduction efforts. A village woman in Kenya does not separate out health, water, sanitation and livelihoods concerns. She also knows that school sanitation and an accessible water source will help keep her teenage daughter in school. But policy makers still cling onto their sectors and remits, ignoring the multidimensional aspects of the MDGs and how joint up they need to be on-the-ground 

From IDS 

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