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The impact of community social dynamics on achieving improved sanitation access for the urban poor: The case of Lusaka, Zambia

Lookup NU author(s): Ruth Kennedy-Walker, Professor Jaime Amezaga, Dr Charlotte Paterson


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Sanitation service provision in fast growing peri-urban areas of developing countries cannot be achieved unless socially bound complexities are explored and diagnosed properly. Using primary data collected through household questionnaires and semi-structured interviews from three selected peri-urban communities in Lusaka, the Republic of Zambia, we analysed the influence of social dynamics on household sanitation provision. The study showed that whilst the socio-economic, perception, spatial proximity and social network factors explored had very little statistical impact on the current sanitation situation at the household level, in analysing the effect of these factors, novel insights into dynamics which may hinder progress towards improved sanitation access could be made. The study concludes that in Lusaka, successful interventions and improved access to sanitation will not be possible unless there is the presence of and access to strong social networks, in particular trust, cooperation and lines of communication, between and within the household and community levels. The need to directly engage with politicians so that their influence and power can be used to improve rather than hinder access to sanitation provision in these PUAs was also shown to be vital

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kennedy-Walker R, Amezaga JM, Paterson CA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Habitat International

Year: 2015

Volume: 50

Pages: 326–334

Print publication date: 01/12/2015

Online publication date: 22/09/2015

Acceptance date: 08/09/2015

ISSN (print): 0197-3975

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5428

Publisher: Pergamon Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2015.09.004


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Funder referenceFunder name
Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor
Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company
EP/J00538X/1UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council