May 2021

Policy Brief: Identifying Households Eligible for a Targeted Sanitation Subsidy in Rural Ghana


In efforts to achieve open defecation free (ODF) communities, the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach shifted the focus from providing hardware subsidies to promoting sanitation behavior change through collective action. However, maintaining ODF status without financial support can be difficult, especially for poor and vulnerable members of a community who may be unable to afford or build durable toilets. Ghana’s National Pro-Poor Guidelines promote targeted subsidies for sanitation, but Implementers need practical guidance on identifying and targeting poor households eligible to receive a subsidy – currently a challenge in the WASH sector.

Key Findings:

  • When asked how to identify poor and vulnerable households, community members concurred with the following two definitions: ➡️ Households that are not able to feed themselves all year round. ➡️ Households with a vulnerable individual (an elderly person, someone with a severe disability, or chronic illness preventing work, a widow, or a child head-of-household) receiving no support from relatives.
  • Consulting community members to designate households meeting their local definition of poverty generally led to community consensus and satisfaction.
  • Households identified via community consultation were substantially more vulnerable than the rest of the population, according to several demographic and socio-economic indicators.
  • In Northern Ghana, community consultation identified fewer and different households than LEAP would have.
  • Identifying eligible households via community consultation requires well-trained local facilitators and dedicated financial resources. In this pilot, the identification process cost approximately 870 GHS (151 USD at an exchange rate of 5.74 GHS/USD) per community or 120 GHS (21 USD) per subsidy recipient, though these costs may be lower when the process is implemented at scale and incorporated into regular CLTS activities.

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In collaboration with USAID and Tetra Tech.

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