A poster showing good hand washing practices outside a community toilet in Delhi. Photo credit: USAID/India

Open Defecation vs. Community Toilets: A Complicated Choice

She told us all to just forget it. I didn’t catch her name, I just watched her adjust the microphone and stand on tiptoes at the podium. Her grey hair peeked out from behind and she sounded frustrated.

Forget the security. It won’t make a difference. Forget the caretakers and the cleaning supplies. We don’t need those. We just want sewer lines in our communities. That’s enough now. We want to use a toilet in our home.

The other women in the audience clearly agreed given the loud burst of applause when she mentioned sewer lines. Instead, she has a community toilet; that or the choice of squatting somewhere out in the open. Choosing between defecating in the open or using a community toilet is layered with far more complexities than I’d understood before.

Click here to read the full article in USAID's Global Waters magazine

Related File
Global Waters Article
Publication Date
Author credits
Meenakshi Dalal
Length
5 minute read
Population Focus
Peri-Urban
Related Countries