Building Environments to Support Sustainability of Improved Sanitation Behaviours at Scale: Levers of Change in East Asia

July 2016

Much remains to be learned, and learned afresh, in each country, due to socio-cultural, economic, and geo-physical variations in the contexts of rural sanitation.

This is a book chapter taken from Sustainable Sanitation For All: Experiences, Challenges and Innovations

Research evidence from many countries has established direct links between poor sanitation practices in communities and measurable stunting in children. The elimination of both open defecation (OD) and the usage of unhygienic latrines is now being recognized as necessary for a country’s human resources to develop to their full potential.

The Sustainable Development Goal challenge for the rural sanitation sector is therefore defined in terms of sanitation behaviour change by whole communities, at countrywide scale, within time spans as short as 5 to 15 years. This chapter presents learning about building supportive policy environments and institutional practices for catalysing sustainable collective sanitation behaviour change at scale.

This includes scaling up the use of improved sanitation by all, along with improving the availability of affordable sanitation for all, to help rural communities achieve ‘open defecation free’ (ODF) status that is sustained over the long-term. This chapter traces how a set of sector change-inducing levers were used to build enabling environments for rural sanitation in Lao PDR, Vietnam, and Indonesia over the period 2007–2015.

Additional details

PublisherPractical Action Publishing
RegionEast and South East Asia
CountryIndonesia, Lao PDR, Vietnam
ThemesBehaviour change, Children, Health, Hygiene, Leave no one behind, Sanitation and health impacts, Sustainability and safely managed sanitation

Mukherjee, N. (2016) ‘Building Environments to Support Sustainability of Improved Sanitation Behaviours at Scale: Levers of Change in East Asia’, in Bongartz, P., Vernon, N. and Fox, J. (eds), Sustainable Sanitation for All: Experiences, Challenges, and Innovations, Rugby, UK: Practical Action Publishing­­­­, doi:


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