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A mixed-methods study of women’s sanitation utilization in informal settlements in Kenya

posted on 21.03.2019, 17:41 authored by Samantha Cristine Winter, Robert Dreibelbis, Millicent Ningoma Dzombo, Francis Barchi

While access to safe sanitation is a global issue, there are large disparities in access. Women living in informal settlements, in particular, are disproportionately affected by lack of access to sanitation. Without adequate sanitation, these women may resort to unsafe strategies to manage their sanitation needs, but limited research has focused specifically on this issue. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from women in the Mathare informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya in 2016. A latent class analysis (LCA) using the quantitative data yielded five distinct sanitation profiles (SP) among women in Mathare. In-depth interviews and sanitation walks with women added further detail about the characteristics of and motivations underlying each profile. Women’s sanitation profiles in these settlements are complex. A majority of women in this study utilized an unsafe method of disposal at least once in a 24-hour period that increased their risk of direct exposure to waste and harmful pathogens.