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close this book Water purification, distribution and sewage disposal for Peace Corps volunteers
close this folder Section 7: Scope of disposal system projects in host communities
View the document Overview:
View the document Public health importance of excreta disposal
View the document How disease is carried from excreta
View the document The characteristics of an adequate system
View the document Possible sanitary measures in rural areas
View the document Soil and ground-water pollution
View the document Location of latrines and other excreta disposal facilities
View the document Sludge accumulation and the life of a pit privy
View the document Community participation
View the document Family participation
View the document Role of health department and other agencies
View the document Public versus private latrines
View the document Human factors
View the document Lesson plans

Human factors

In all matters of excrete disposal, human factors are as important as technical features. People, especially inhabitants of rural areas, will not use a latrine of a type which they dislike, or which does not afford adequate privacy or, finally, which cannot be kept clean.

Regarding the type of latrine which should be selected, the preliminary sanitation and sociological survey will indicate the types of facilities, if any, in use in the area. The first step in design will therefore be to try to improve the existing system, retaining as many as possible of its 'sociological' features. Two examples may be cited to illustrate this important point. Water-flush-type latrines with risers and seats, though best from the sanitary standpoint, have not normally been found acceptable by people who are used to defaecating in the bush in a squatting position. In another instance, people readily accepted pit privies which were built within a thatch and bamboo enclosure without a roof, as they preferred to squat in the open air. Everywhere in the world people have certain taboos with respect to the collection and disposal of human faeces. While it is impossible to study them all, you should pay much attention to them and should avail yourself at all times of the assistance of experienced health educators, social anthropologists, or sociologists to discover the right approach to the solution of the excrete disposal problem of rural communities.

The next important human factors to be considered are the matters of privacy and of separation of the facilities provided for men and for women. Various systems have been designed to provide privacy; they are shown in, Fig. 66 together with those for separating the sexes. It will be noted that latrine doors should preferably open inwards.

A latrine, whether of the family or communal type, the design of which does not allow easy cleaning will also not be acceptable to most people. In this respect, smooth, hard-surface floors of concrete, cement, brick, or similar material are best because it is easy to flush them with water.

A latrine which is designed for too large a number of people will probably get dirty quickly and remain so, with the result that late callers will prefer to go and defaecate around the latrine building or in a neighboring bush. A one-hole latrine is adequate for a family of five or six persons. For communal latrines in camps, markets, and similar places, one hole should be provided for every 15 persons; and in schools, one hole for every 15 girls and one hole plus a urinal for every 25 boys.


Fig. 66 Privy Designs Ensuring Privacy and Separation of the Sexes

A = These tow layouts ensure complete separation of the sexes.

B = Semi-private installation. Spail-type entrance. Defaecation may take place in corridor passage when latrine floor is dirty

C = Preferred types, ensuring complete privacy.