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The Soul is Willing but...: Exploring Community Sanitation Preferences for Environmental Sustainability

S Mariwah


Sanitation has been identified as an essential aspect of development as it affects the quality of life and productivity of the population. But sanitation facilities are only sustainable when people make their own choices and contribution towards obtaining and maintaining them. This paper therefore examines sanitation preferences of residents of Efutu, a peri-urban settlement in the Central Region of Ghana. Using a descriptive design, data were collected from 154 randomly-selected households using questionnaires, focus group discussions and observation. It was found out that 65% of the respondents mentioned the household water closet (WC) as their most preferred toilet facility, though 58% presently use Kumasi ventilated improved pit (KVIP) public toilets. Least handling of excreta, convenience, security and avoidance of smell represent some of the very important factors that determine respondents' choice of a particular sanitation facility. Additionally, 78% of the respondents wanted their toilet facility to be sited in the house, mainly due to convenience/comfort and the security associated with an in-house toilet facility. The study recommends that since the majority of the people use KVJP public toilets, it will be easier through community consultation, to introduce ecological sanitation, a more sustainable and ecologically friendly sanitation system, in the community. 

Key words: sanitation, preferences, toilet, ecological sanitation, environment, sustainability