LATRINE INVESTMENT TRACKER
A system to track household investments in latrines
2.5 million people in the world lack access to improved sanitation facilities. One of the key challenges in increasing access is the cost to households, and supporting this through appropriate financing mechanism. Yet, with the variety of sanitation options available, and different material costs in different regions, the cost of household sanitation is highly variable. As a result sanitation practitioners and researchers are missing information about the costs of latrine construction, and how much households are willing to pay. This information is needed to inform programs aimed at supporting households in building their own latrines.
There is a need to collect information from households about their investment in latrine construction to better understand these costs in different contexts.
Option 1: A simple SMS reporting tool to collect this data from households sending text messages about the cost of constructing their latrine, and the type and material used. A dashboard program would collect this information and aggregate information about most commonly used models, building materials, and the costs associated with each. Respondents would likely need to be incentivised to report by offering them a coupon for a sanitation service (e.g. pit emptying) or something like mobile airtime.
Option 2: Given the need to verify that toilets have actually been built, and the issue around incentivising individuals to report, the data collection could be conducted from households by a trained individual (for example, a district health services field worker).
A mobile application could be built to have fields for collecting specific pieces of data through household interviews: household ID, type of latrine, primary building materials, suppliers, cost. If smartphones are used, a photograph of the latrine would also be included. This would be somewhat similar to how FLOW is currently being used. However, a simple version for non-smart phones could also be developed.
This surveying could be combined with other regular health surveys.
The expected outcome of addressing this problem is to have more information about the costs of sanitation for households. This is important in understanding appropriate financing options and programs that support more households in constructing latrines, particularly low-income households.