Project Example

Breakthrough ACTION Liberia Rural Sanitation Report 2021

This technical report from a 2021 study on rural sanitation in Lofa and Nimba Counties was conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs and Save the Children.

The objectives of the study were to:

  • Determine the current sanitation and open defecation free (ODF) status among previous USAIDsupported communities within Lofa and Nimba counties
  • Deepen understanding of the individual, community and political drivers and barriers to household toilet/latrine adoption and sustained use or “slippage” in both rural Liberia (Lofa & Nimba)
  • Assess the determinants of “drop outs” of sustained toilet use

The main conclusions of the study are as follows:

  • The three groups studied, including two ODF groups, indicate that the ODF groups have more communities with high toilet use compared to the never ODF group.
  • Toilet use attrition, especially 12–18 months after toilet construction, is high. The main reasons of toilet attrition are lack of cleanliness and maintenance of the toilets since a large number are shared toilets.
  • The primary issue of attrition is related to poor toilet use experience.
  • People are already motivated to use toilets in Nimba and Lofa counties. Therefore, implementing programs for toilet motivation is not necessary. Instead, programs that help maintain toilet cleanliness, reduce attrition, and build social norms around consistent toilet use are needed.
  • Handwashing with soap practices are not optimal with only a third of the sample washing their hands daily with soap after defecation.
  • The toilet filling up and the toilet getting “spoiled” are the two major reasons for returning to the bush for defecation.
  • A large number of the bush users are former toilet users, indicating that a high demand for toilets exists in the three communities.
  • However, even the ODF communities have reverted to a large extent to bush use.
  • Therefore, making toilet use a clean and pleasant experience is essential to continued and sustained use.
  • Individuals state that faith leaders, such as pastors (34.9%) and imams (12.8%), influence their decision to participate in community sanitation practices. Overwhelmingly, individuals note that traditional leaders (50.3%) and community role models such as health workers and teachers (48.2%) play the largest roles in affecting individual behavior.

Source: Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs, Save the Children

Date of Publication: November 24, 2021