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TitleSQUAT Research Brief No. 1: Ending open defecation requires changing minds
Publication TypeProgress Report
Year of Publication2014
Authorsinstitute, rice

Summary of research findings:

Rural households do not build inexpensive latrines of the sort that commonly reduce open defecation and save lives in Bangladesh, Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.  

• Many survey respondents' behaviour reveals a preference for open defecation: over 40% of households with a working latrine have at least one member who defecates in the open.
• Government latrines are particularly unlikely to be used. Most people who own a government-constructed latrine defecate in the open anyway.
• Latrine construction is not enough: If the government were to build a latrine for every rural household without one, without changing sanitation preferences, most people in our sample in the states where it is most common would still defecate in the open. 
• Many respondents say there are benefits to defecating in the open: 47% of those that defecate in the open say they do so because it is pleasant, comfortable, or convenient.



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