The indicators for access to drinking water in Senegal suggest that 33% of the population still satisfies their needs from unimproved sources. Access to water is also fundamental to good hygiene behavior, notably for washing hands. However, in rural areas, dedicated hand washing stations have been observed in 24.8% of all households. Among the members of these households, only 44.6% used water and soap for hand washing. With regard to sanitation, in the rural area, 42% use unimproved latrines and 24% practice open defecation (OD). In the frame of its support to a government program that aims to increase the availability and demand for hygiene and sanitation in Senegal, the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) of the World Bank mandated the Swiss TPH to conduct a national household survey, complemented by a qualitative approach including key informant interviews and focus group discussions. The objectives of this study were to
- Estimate the availability of improved latrines at household level, their use and maintenance, hand washing behavior and the management of fecal.
- Identify and understand the main factors that influence hygiene practices and the acquisition and use of sanitation services.
- Determine the principal benefits resulting from the use of hygiene and sanitation infrastructure.
- Determine the capacity and willingness of households to acquire sanitation infrastructure without reliance on subsidies.
- Determine the preferences and satisfaction of the households with regard to latrines.
- Determine the different information channels of households.
Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected through a household questionnaire following the SaniFOAM framework and including over 2’000 families, and through 40 focus group discussions and 40 key informant interviews. The socio-economic condition undoubtedly is the most important factor to explain the observed inequalities with regard to access to sanitation. The regional variability of this inequality can be seen in the strong geographic differences in access to sanitation and sanitation practices. The characteristics of the latrines are decisive, both to ensure the satisfaction of the population and to promote their use, and last to improve more generally the hygiene conditions by facilitating the maintenance of the latrines. The engagement of the population in the acquisition of latrines remains limited as the people often wait with the construction of latrines until a subsidy program is implemented. Albeit the capacity to pay of the rural population is limited, their contribution must be considered, not least because the mean proposed contribution to the acquisition of a latrine in case of co-payments is close to the costs of a traditional latrine. It also appears that strategic activities, together with the communication strategy, will need to focus on the zones where pockets of poverty exist. More generally, the communication strategies need to be adapted to the local context, and the communication preferences and habits, which differ between regions.