Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Latrine Management Approaches in Internally Displaced Persons Camps in Myanmar

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  • 1 School of Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts;
  • | 2 United Nations Children’s Fund, Yangon, Myanmar;
  • | 3 United Nations Children’s Fund, Kachin, Myanmar;
  • | 4 United Nations Children’s Fund, Rakhine, Myanmar
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Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions provide dignity and prevent disease transmission. Sanitary facility provision (e.g., latrines) is a key WASH priority in all phases of humanitarian response. Currently, there are evidence gaps on field effectiveness of sanitation approaches, particularly in protracted crises. Thus, we conducted a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of sanitation approaches in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Myanmar. We conducted 36 focus group discussions, 65 household surveys, and 32 key informant interviews in Rakhine and Kachin states; results were analyzed qualitatively. We found family-shared, gender-segregated latrines were the preferred approach. Acceptance was a result of gender segregation, followed by lighting, state of repair, cleanliness, design, and distance from household. Contextual factors influencing sanitation approach development and acceptance were cultural and religious beliefs, community cohesion, camp size, livelihood access, land ownership and availability, and responding agency type. Overall, sanitation approaches generally met IDP needs; however, access was limited for children, the elderly, and people with special needs (including persons with disabilities). We recommend implementers of latrine programs in protracted contexts conduct community consultations, consider gender segregation, be flexible in considering context-specific solutions, prioritize access and dignity, and be inclusive of vulnerable groups.

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Author Notes

Address correspondence to Marta Domini, School of Engineering, Tufts University, 200 College Avenue, Medford, MA 02155. E-mail: marta.domini@unibs.it

Financial support: This work was supported by UNICEF–Myanmar (grant no. PR0190, 2018). The funder approved the manuscript for publication.

Authors’ addresses: Marta Domini and Daniele Lantagne, School of Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA, E-mails: marta.domini@unibs.it and daniele.lantagne@tufts.edu. Sunny Guidotti Pereira, United Nations Children’s Fund, Yangon, Myanmar, E-mail: sguidotti@unicef.org. Aye Win, United Nations Children’s Fund, Kachin, Myanmar, E-mail: awin@unicef.org. Lae Yee Win, United Nations Children’s Fund, Rakhine, Myanmar, E-mail: laewin@unicef.org.