Broad-basing Rural Sanitation: Issues and Strategies for Inclusive Development in South Africa

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IERI Working paper WP2019-004
Lindile Ndabeni

Globally about 2.5 billion people do not have access to improved sanitation and 1.1 billion practice open defecation. Being seen practicing open defecation can provoke the greatest form of embarrassment. In particular, open defecation symbolises an embedded form of marginalisation especially in remote rural villages where latrines are often restricted to village elites. That is, rural sanitation is closely linked to global inequalities in which rural poor sanitation reflects multiple levels of inequality. Similarly, rural systems of sanitations are interlinked with fragile rural livelihoods. The paper utilizes social exclusion to frame and highlight critical issues in rural systems of sanitation. Consequently, the paper draws our attention to how sanitation improvements should be viewed as part of wider processes of social and political change. Typically, the objective in this paper is to unpack the specific conditions that impact on sanitation exclusion and highlight implications for systemic policy interventions that can sustain improvements in rural sanitation systems in developing world especially in Asia and Africa. The paper enhances the contribution of critical sanitation scholarship to policy development and sustained rural sanitation improvements.

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