The sanitation needs of ‘peri-urban’ areas – located on the fringes of larger urban settlements – are context-dependent but will often have both rural and urban characteristics.
In many cases, peri-urban areas will fall outside the jurisdictions of towns and cities, and their residents are excluded from official city population counts.
Residents of these areas typically have low incomes and lack formal land tenure. As a result, they may lack formal connections to municipal water and sanitation networks, and will access basic services in several different ways.
Many residents of these areas will lack access to basic sanitation facilities. Some may practice open defecation, while latrine facilities will be unhygienic and inept at safely managing excreta.
Containment systems such as pits and septic tanks may not be emptied as frequently or as safely as needed. Challenges to the implementation of sanitation interventions in these contexts include rapid population growth, lack of clarity regarding institutional responsibility and low levels of political will and investment.
In many cases, residents have diverse social backgrounds. This can exacerbate issues of equity, access and power. Interventions in these spaces need to be context and evidence driven and flexible to adapt to changing environments.