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Switching to latrines in rural South Asia: A study of health technology adoption, 2014

Data1 min read

Recent research highlights the importance of sanitation for health and for human capital development, and thus ultimately for economic growth in India. It is widely accepted that poor sanitation causes intestinal diseases which reduce the absorption of calories and nutrients, and lead to malnutrition and impaired cognitive development among children. Despite its importance, progress towards increasing access to sanitation in India has been extremely slow. In rural areas, the fraction of households without a toilet or latrine decreased by only 8.8 percentage points between 2001 and 2011, from 78.1% to 69.3%.

Considering the negative effects of poor sanitation on health and human capital, investigating strategies for speeding the adoption of safe sanitation is a policy imperative. Our qualitative study of sanitation adoption seeks to understand households’ and individuals’ motivations for constructing and using a latrine. We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 99 households in four regions of South Asia: Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, in India, and the Nepali terai. The insights gained in this study will be used generate hypotheses about how to create demand for latrines in India.

We have posted the interview guides (English, Hindi and Gujarati versions) for this study and would be happy to answer questions about the project. Because the recordings associated with these in-depth, qualitative interviews contain confidential, identifiable information, we are not able to post them publicly on the internet. If you are interested in accessing/analyzing these data, please send an email to She will respond to you about how we might arrange to share the data by making you part of our project. Potential users of the data would have full responsibility to obtain their own Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to work with these data.

Documentation and questionnaires available here


r.i.c.e. is a non-profit research organization focused on health and well-being in India. Our core focus is on children in rural north India. Our research studies health care at the start of life, sanitation, air pollution, maternal health, social inequality, and other dimensions of population-level social wellbeing.

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