Ending open defecation requires changing mind SQUAT Survey

India Water Portal
Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 10:30

A recent survey of Sanitation Quality, Use, Access, and Trends (SQUAT Survey) of 3,200 households in over 300 villages in 13 districts of rural Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, conducted by the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e.), sheds light on why years of government policy, focused on latrine construction, have done so little to reduce open defecation.  Simply building toilets and latrines does not change people’s minds about using them, thus a greater focus on motivating latrine use rather than continued efforts to build more latrines is required.  Some of the key findings of the report include: 

  • 40% of households with working latrines have at least one member who defecates in the open.
  • More than half the people who have government latrines don’t use them.
  • Among those who defecate in the open, 47% say they do so because it is pleasurable, comfortable, or convenient.  Toilet use is often considered optional, not an urgent need.
  • 51% of those who defecate in the open report that widespread open defecation would be at least as good for child health as latrine use.
  • People want expensive latrines: most families in rural India can already afford to buy the simple latrines that save lives in Bangladesh. 

To achieve its goal of eliminating open defecation by 2019, the Government must redirect sanitation policy towards promoting latrine use.  India needs nothing short of a Latrine Use Revolution, publicly directed by the country’s top leaders and known to every rural Indian.

To learn more, read the full paper here, and explore further at http://squatreport.in. Help spread the message and get everyone engaged in starting a Latrine Use Revolution!