Why clean the toilet if others don't? Using a social dilemma approach to understand users of shared toilets (in urban slums in Uganda) - and how to measure cleanliness

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Why clean the toilet if others don't? Using a social dilemma approach to understand users of shared toilets (in urban slums in Uganda) - and how to measure cleanliness

Dear all,

We recently published a review paper in the IWA Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development which is connected to our work in urban slums in Kampala, Uganda. I would like to bring this to your attention on this forum as I think it is very relevant for the category on “behavior change” here on the forum by shedding light on the social processes involved when it comes to cleaning of a shared toilet.

Tumwebaze, I. K., Mosler, H.-J. (2014). Why clean the toilet if others don't? Using a social dilemma approach to understand users of shared toilets' collective cleaning behaviour in urban slums: a review. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development. In Press, Uncorrected Proof. doi:10.2166/washdev.2014.152

You can access the document here:
www.eawag.ch/forschung/ess/gruppen/ehpsy...dfs/tumwebaze_2014_2

Abstract
Shared toilets are a common good in urban slums, but need to be maintained and cleaned for users
to positively benefit from having access to them. Collective participation of the shared toilet
users is required to keep them clean and ensure adequate hygiene. However, users’ decisions on
whether to participate or not in the cleaning of the shared toilets are a social dilemma. If each of the
shared toilets’ users decided not to participate in their cleaning, the facilities could end up in a
deteriorated unhygienic state and become a health risk to them and to the community at large.
In this paper, we provide an overview of the social dilemma approach and highlight how the factors
important in the management of social dilemmas can be relevant to understanding the cleaning
behaviour of shared toilet users in urban slums.


Some excerpts to raise your interest in this paper:

SOCIAL DILEMMAS
The most widely used definition of social dilemmas is that
proposed by Dawes (1980), who defines social dilemmas as
situations characterized by two main properties:

1. The social payoff to each individual for defecting (noncooperative)
behaviour is higher than the payoff for cooperative
behaviour, regardless of what the other society
members do.

2. All individuals in the society receive a lower payoff if all
are non-cooperative than if all cooperated.

In the case of the cleaning of shared toilets, each user is
in the social dilemma:
1. If he or she does not participate in cleaning, then he or she
is better off because he or she does not have to make an
effort to clean, but benefits from the cleaning of others.

2. However, if many or all users do not participate in cleaning,
then all users of the shared toilet suffer from the harm
caused by being exposed to the risk of contracting diseases.

Social dilemma research has focused mainly on prisoner’s
dilemmas, commons dilemmas and public goods
dilemmas. Commons and public goods dilemmas are the
aspects analysed in this paper to understand the cleaning
behaviour of shared toilet users.

CONCLUSION
Shared toilets are a common good in developing countries’
urban slums and their cleaning requires the collective participation
of all user families. In this paper, we have
presented the social dilemma factors important to understanding
the collective cleaning behaviour of shared toilet
users in urban slums. With the proposed inclusion of shared
toilets (if shared not more than five families) into the post-
2015 millennium development goals for drinking-water,
sanitation and hygiene, further field research and interventions
are important to promote the collective cleaning of
shared toilets by user families.


Social dilemma factors discussed in this paper:
  • Group size
  • Group dynamics
  • Gender
  • Attribution
  • Social motives
  • Social norms
  • Social identity
  • Behaviour of others
  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Unintended non-cooperation
If you have comments or questions about the work described in this paper, please feel free to post them here and I will see if I or my co-author can answer you.

Regards, Hansi

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Prof. Dr. phil. et dipl. zool.
Hans-Joachim Mosler
Eawag, Environmental Social Sciences
Environmental and Health Psychology
Überlandstrasse 133
CH-8600 Dübendorf / Switzerland
www.eawag.ch/forschung/ess/gruppen/ehpsy/index_EN
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Re: New article: Why clean the toilet if others don't? Using a social dilemma approach to understand users of shared toilets (in urban slums)

Dear Hansi,

thanks for posting. I rembember we had some conversation about
http://www.nadel.ethz.ch/publikationen/policy_brief_shared_sanitation_improved_2_2012.pdf
somewhere here in Sussana (Elisabeth do you remember?) and I found it sad that we did not have more input. At that time papers were in preparation. Are you able to share a little bit more of data?

Especially about the question number of useres would be interesting to learn more. Seems to be rolled out in:

"Günther, I., Horst, A., Lüthi, C., Mosler, H.-J., Niwagaba, C. B. &
Tumwebaze, I. K. When is Shared Sanitation Improved Sanitation? Research for policy 2. Eawag, Switzerland." (but certainly you know your publications :) )

Thank you

Christoph
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Re: New article: Why clean the toilet if others don't? Using a social dilemma approach to understand users of shared toilets (in urban slums)

Dear Christoph,

you asked where on the forum we discussed this work by Eawag on public toilets in slums of Kampala before.
Was this the thread you had in mind?:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/106-us...ilets-kampala-uganda

It was in the Science & Technology category under User Interface because it was about the U-ACT project funded by SPLASH which is co-funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

And yes, Alexandra Horst from that project wrote ( forum.susana.org/forum/categories/106-us...-kampala-uganda#6570 ):

We are planning to have a third policy brief that will look at the impact of different price and financing mechanisms on households' sanitation investment, based on the results of the randomized controlled trial we conducted in Kampala. We are hoping to publish that brief and upload it on our website latest in the second quarter of 2014.


The Swiss Eawag (and ETH?) seems to be doing so much work in Kampala with their Ugandan colleagues, it's hard to keep track of it all. :-) Great if the forum can assist us.

Greetings,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Ulm, Germany
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Twitter: @EvMuench
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Re: New article: Why clean the toilet if others don't? Using a social dilemma approach to understand users of shared toilets (in urban slums)

Dear Christoph,

Thanks for your appreciation. In response to your comment to Hansi, and regarding the publication on ' when is shared sanitation improved sanitation? It was evident that cleaning gets more complicated with the increase in the number of user families. However from our further theory and evidence-based intervention research - focused on increasing the cleaning behaviour of user families ( targeting four families and more), it is possible to realize improved sanitation of shared facilities beyond the 5 sharing families if cleanliness is guaranteed(We will notify SuSanA when our article is out regarding collective cleaning of shared toilets).
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Re: Cleanliness of shared toilets

Does the cleanliness of shared toilets matter? Can it be an important indicator for improved sanitation? How can it be measured?

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Cleanliness of shared toilets

Dear Innocent Kamara Tumwebaze,

Thanks for your forum post! As one of the researchers at Eawag doing this important research on shared toilets in Kampala, you have probably already come up with some suggestions how cleanliness could be monitored? (I purposefully say "monitored", not "measured", i.e. we would need some simple indicators for monitoring purposes).

What do you have in mind?
And yes, I could imagine that it could be an important indicator for improved sanitation or let's say for "hygenic behaviour"?

How is it measured in e.g. public toilets at restaurants or airports in Germany? Sometimes there are feedback forms where cusotmers can leave complaints. Or what I have seen a few times now is a touch screen (or three buttons) at the exit of the public toilet where customers can click on one of three buttons for the question "how clean was this toilet?" or "how satisfied were you?" - good, medium, not at all.

I have the feeling that there has been a huge shift in cleanliness of public toilets even in Germany over the last 20 years. The toilets at highway rest stops and stations used to be exctremely grubby about 20 years ago so they were best avoided. Nowadys, these toiles are usually spotless, and that's usually due to a service company which is being paid by the restaurant or by user fees (noramlly something like 50 Eur Cents). So I guess the behaviour of the users didn't have to change but the professional service providers have come in and that's made the difference.

Also you mentioned in July that:

We will notify SuSanA when our article is out regarding collective cleaning of shared toilets

Is that now available? I hope you have ensured it will be an open access article?

Thanks a lot,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Ulm, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @EvMuench
Founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
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Re: Cleanliness of shared toilets

Dear Elizabeth,

Thanks for your Feedback. You are right on us having facts or suggestions of how cleanliness of shared toilets could be monitored, based on our Kampala Research on cleanliness of shared toilets and users' cleaning behaviour. What I had in mind was to see how others react to it, based on their experiences. And the Focus here is on toilets shared by defined number of families or families within a compound house or houses and not public shared toilets that are used on pay-per-use and facility Management being in the responsibility of the care takers. The whole Point around cleanliness of shared toilets, which can be a focus area for implementing organisations or sector Players is the role of tenants (users of the toilets)in adequate (hygienic)use and cleaning of the facilities.
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Re: Cleanliness of shared toilets

Dear Innocent,
what I find quite amazing from your study is that cleanliness of a shared toilet is not necessarily dependend on the number of families sharing that toilet. There seems to be an equal share of dirty or even not usuable toilets of toilets that are shared by 2 families, 3-5 families and 6 and more families. Your data shows that 11% of the toilets from the 1500 interviewed persons have very dirty/not usuable toilets and 46% of toilets are dirty but usable.

Interestingly about half of all shared toilets in Kampala Slums are used by 6 and more families. So when applying the proposed cut-off point by the future SDGs with up to 5 families sharing one toilet, it would mean discarting half of the number of shared toilets, irrespective if they are usable and clean or not.

So the big question would be how to define a shared toilet that serves its purpose and how this can be measured nationally and for the global SDGs. I think your proposal on using cleanliness as an indicator is very valid. And as you have shown in your work (i hope you can share some more info soon) there are also measures on how to strengthen good cleaning behaviours among tenants and landlords.

Cheers
Christian
GIZ Uganda
Enhanced Water Security and Sanitation (ENWASS)
Sanitation for Millions
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