A model public toilet service in an urban context that improves management and income for the urban poor: Field action report

  • Birhanu Genet
  • Yibeltal Berie
  • Asheber Ayalew
  • Asnake Kassahun
  • Teklehaimanot Debassu
  • Aberra Assefa
  • Gashaw Dagne
  • Worku Tuffa
  • Matthew Osborne-Smith

Abstract

Background: In Ethiopia, public toilets are commonly provided and managed by municipalities or designated government structures. This traditional model of public toilet management is limited in its ability to generate income for upkeep. To address this, USAID’s Strengthening Ethiopia’s Urban Health Program developed a public toilet management model with an integrated business approach and multiple construction design options.

Objectives: To demonstrate a sustainable model for public toilet management that ensures the provision of high-quality and equitable services.

Method: A public toilet management model and engineering design with three typologies were developed after a multi-sectoral team of experts conducted studies to identify the key challenges to current management. The management model and engineering design were tested in Kombolcha and Kemisse.

Results: From February to August 2018, 5,099 and 18,795 people used the public toilet and shower services in Kombolcha and Kemisse towns, respectively. Of these users, 338 (3.6%) and 318 (3.4%) have a disability. In Kombolcha, four women organized as a medium and small enterprise (MSE) are managing the toilet and shower services; each member receives a 700 birr monthly salary. In Kemisse, five women organized as an MSE are managing the facility; each member receives a 2,500 birr monthly salary. They have a savings of 29,000 birr in the MSE’s account.

Conclusion: The developed model helps to strengthen the management of public toilet service quality and sustainability by creating business opportunities. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2020; 34(Special issue 2):42-48]

Keywords: Public toilet, model, urban, income, urban poor

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eISSN: 1021-6790