Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Safe Disposal of Human Feces

Family members safely dispose of human feces

Safe disposal of feces could prevent over 800,000 deaths a year due to sanitation-related diarrhea.1The Human Waste
WaterAid and Tearfund
 This is a habitual behavior that applies to adult, child and baby feces and must be practiced on all occasions.

Key Points from Global Research

  • Ensuring households have appropriate, accessible, affordable sanitation options can enable latrine construction and use.
  • Leveraging powerful motivators like pride and respect for household members, guests and neighbors can increase latrine use and maintenance.

Behavior Profile Sample: Safe Disposal of Human Feces

A Behavior Profile is a summary analysis of each behavior. This sample draws from global evidence and illustrates the result of using the Create Behavior Profiles Tool to analyze factors, supporting actors and strategies and to ensure logical pathways exist between strategies proposed and factors related to the practice of the behavior. This sample may be used as a starting point or reference for creating country-specific Behavior Profiles.

Create Behavior Profiles

Improve maternal and child survival
Family members safely dispose of human feces
Percentage of households with improved and non-shared toilet facilities

Behavior Analysis



What steps are needed to practice this behavior?
  1. Decide to build or access a latrine
  2. Build or access an improved latrine
  3. Always use the latrine for human feces, including feces from babies
  4. Cover the latrine hole
  5. Maintain latrine and surroundings

Click on any box
        to see the pathwaysA pathway illustrates how elements in the Behavior Profile are linked. When read from right to left, a pathway highlights how strategies are expected to address the factors to enable adoption of the Accelerator Behavior.  
        of the behavior.


What factors may prevent or support practice of this behavior? These should be analyzed for each country context.
Accessibility: Products needed to build an improved latrine are unavailable locally or in small quantities
Accessibility: Physical constraints (e.g. height of ground water, hardness of ground) make building a latrine difficult
Accessibility: Families have insufficient resources to build a latrine
Norms: No neighbors have a latrine, so families do not understand why they need one
Attitudes and Beliefs: Families do not believe baby feces is dirty and do not throw it into the latrine
Attitudes and Beliefs: Families prefer to use the outdoors where the air is fresh
Attitudes and Beliefs: People feel proud and prestigious when they think they can have their own household latrine
Knowledge: Families do not know how to build an improved latrine


Who must support the practice of this behavior?
Policymakers: Adopt open defecation free (ODF) policy and sanitation regulations for the country
Community Leaders: Support local sanitation marketing efforts and construction training to improve accessibility
Community Leaders: Build institutional latrines (schools, clinics)
Family Members: Save a portion of available income for sanitation needs


How might we focus our efforts based on this analysis?
Enabling Environment
Financing: Offer financing or credit mechanisms for household sanitation improvements and sanitation businesses
Partnerships and Networks: Form surveillance cadres (government, international and local NGOs) to track ODF communities
Systems, Products and Services
Products and Technology: Investigate new sanitation technologies for geographically constrained situations
Quality Improvement: Facilitate improved private-sector markets to increase access to latrine options and construction, small-scale supplies, or delivery options
Demand and Use
Communication: Use regular community forums to share data and progress on ODF status and discuss challenges
Skills Building: Train local cadres of masons and builders

Global Status of Accelerator Behavior

Percentage of households with improved and non-shared toilet facilities

The DHS Program Indicator Data API, The Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program

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