Understanding sustained use of ecological sanitation in rural Burkina Faso

Access to safe sanitation services is fundamental for healthy and productive lives, but in rural Burkina Faso only around 7 percent of the population uses improved sanitation.

Ecological sanitation (ecosan) systems that allow safe agricultural reuse of nutrients in human waste have been promoted in these areas, as a way to meet sanitation needs while contributing to food security. However, little is known about the success of these interventions in terms of both sustained use of the toilet and safe excreta reuse practices.

Alejandro Jiménez, Programme Manager at UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility, has co-authored an article on the use of ecosan systems in 44 rural communities where such interventions have taken place. Structured interviews and observations conducted at 520 randomly selected concessions (residential properties), suggested a large-scale shift from open defecation to ecosan toilet use. The findings, presented in the article, suggest that the safe agricultural reuse of nutrients can provide a strong motivation for long-term adoption of improved sanitation among rural smallholders.

Read the article (external link to journal – open access)