May 2021

Identifying Households Eligible for a Targeted Sanitation Subsidy in Rural Ghana

This brief describes an approach for deciding the eligibility of poor and vulnerable households for targeted subsidies to cover the costs of installing a durable toilet sub-structure (pit lining and slab) and ventilation pipe in rural Ghana.

Key Takeaways :

  • We employed an eligibility protocol relying on community consultation. Community members themselves identified households that met the following criteria: inability to feed themselves all year round or presence of a vulnerable individual (elderly, widow, physically/mentally challenged, chronically ill, or orphan) receiving no support from relatives. A follow-up household questionnaire subsequently confirmed whether the community-identified households fulfilled the criteria.
  • Our protocol successfully identified households that communities deemed in need of special financial support. It was more selective and likely more locally specific than Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) program, which primarily relies on a national proxy-means test to identify poor and vulnerable households. Our protocol also identified different households than LEAP would have.
  • Households identified as poor and vulnerable were not necessarily those practicing open defecation. Future programs might consider incorporating additional screening in the follow-up verification questionnaire if they wish to prioritize households with the poorest sanitation conditions (though this was not the case of this program).
  • Implementing community consultation requires substantial human and logistical resources, as well as well-trained, locally fluent facilitators. If possible, we recommend combining community consultations with other ongoing local government activities to reduce travel costs. When applied in new districts, we recommend adapting the protocol to incorporate local norms concerning community entry, icebreaker activities during consultation meetings, and definitions of poverty.

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In collaboration with USAID and Tetra Tech.

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