Understanding what sanitation users value - examining preferences and behaviors for sanitation systems
Seymour, Zakiya Ayo-Zahra
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Over the last two decades, sanitation policy and development has undergone a paradigm shift away from heavily-subsidized, supply-driven approaches towards behavioral-based demand-driven approaches. These current approaches to increase sanitation demand are multi-faceted, requiring multiple stakeholders with varying degrees of interest, knowledge, and capacity. Although efforts exist to increase sanitation access by incorporating engineering design principles with implementation planning approaches, these groups generally work independently without strong connections, thus reducing the potential of their impact. As a result, the design of appropriate sanitation technology is disengaged from the implementation of acceptable technology into communities, disconnecting user preference integration from sanitation technology design and resulting in fewer sanitation technologies being adopted and used. To address these challenges in developing successful interventions, this research examined how user preferences for specific attributes of appropriate sanitation technologies and their respective implementation arrangements influence their adoption and usage. Data for the study included interviews of 1002 sanitation users living in a peri-urban area of South Africa; the surveyed respondents were asked about their existing sanitation technology, their preferences for various sanitation technology design attributes, as well as their perspectives on current and preferred sanitation implementation arrangements. The data revealed that user acceptability of appropriate sanitation technology is influenced by the adoption classification of the users. Through the identification of motives and barriers to sanitation usage that were statistically significant, it exhibited the need to differentiate users who share private sanitation from those use communal sanitation facilities. Results also indicated that user acceptability of appropriate sanitation systems is dependent on the technical design attributes of sanitation. The development of utility functions detailed the significance of seven technical design attributes and determined their respective priorities. An agent-based simulation examined how user preferences for sanitation technology design and implementation influence its adoption and usage. Findings suggest that user acceptability of sanitation technology is dependent on both the technology design and the implementation arrangement being preferred.