April 2021

Will Households Invest in Safe Sanitation? Results from an Experimental Demand Trial in Nakuru, Kenya

Peletz R, Delaire C, Kones J, MacLeod C, Samuel E, Easthope-Frazer A, Khush R. Will Households Invest in Safe Sanitation? Results from an Experimental Demand Trial in Nakuru, Kenya. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(9):4462. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094462

Abstract

Unsafe sanitation is an increasing public health concern for rapidly expanding cities in low-income countries. Understanding household demand for improved sanitation infrastructure is critical for planning effective sanitation investments. In this study, we compared the stated and revealed willingness to pay (WTP) for high-quality, pour-flush latrines among households in low-income areas in the city of Nakuru, Kenya.

We found that stated WTP for high-quality, pour-flush latrines was much lower than market prices: less than 5% of households were willing to pay the full costs, which we estimated between 87,100–82,900 Kenyan Shillings (KES), or 871–829 USD. In addition, we found large discrepancies between stated and revealed WTP. For example, 90% of households stated that they would be willing to pay a discounted amount of 10,000 KES (100 USD) for a high-quality, pour-flush latrine, but only 10% of households redeemed vouchers at this price point (paid via six installment payments). Households reported that financial constraints (i.e., lack of cash, other spending priorities) were the main barriers to voucher redemption, even at highly discounted prices. Our results emphasize the importance of financial interventions that address the sizable gaps between the costs of sanitation products and customer demand among low-income populations.

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