Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Urban Poor Women on Water and Sanitation
KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDES AND PRACTICES OF URBAN POOR WOMEN ON WATER AND SANITATIONA CASE STUDY IN MAHAIYAWA SLUMS, KANDY C. Semasinghe, J.A.S. De Silva and H.K. Sunil Shanthasri
• Women play a central role in households in regard to water and sanitation• They also pay the heaviest price for poor sanitation• This research was conducted to determine the level of knowledge, attitudes and practices on water and sanitation of women in urban slums in Sri Lanka
Study Area• GN division is Poornawaththa West 240• Total number of 1390 households and a population of 5982• Number of women is 2978 (49.78% of the total population)• The total area is about 10acres (0.04 Km2)
Methodology• 30 women from this area were selected to be questioned for primary data collection.• They were between the ages of 30 to 40.• Motherhood was an essential requirement.• Key Informant Interviews (KII) were conducted with KMC, NWSDB authorities and GN of the area
Findings…• Most dwellers are labourers or minor workers of the KMC• Multi ethnic and multi religious.• Some of them were given ownership of land.Others are “unauthorized settlers”.• Mahaiyawa has a municipality water supply scheme.• Some households have water supply to their own house while others use the public water taps.• A public water tap is averagely shared by 8-10 families• water is free and there is a 24 hour supply• Most women are unemployed, majority of employed work for KMC
Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices• Do you boil water for drinking? Regularly Occasionally Never 30% 43.4% 26.7%• Aware that boiling is a method of disinfection.• Children dislike the taste of boiled water.• Limitations in time.• Additional cost.
• Washing hands is extremely low, especially for those who do not have a water supply at home and have to use the public water connection.• 46.7% of the women in the area depend on public water for bathing and washing clothes.• An attitude of water comes at no cost. Hence a lot of water is wasted.
• The KMC has provided public latrine facilities.• Many homes lack space to build a private latrine.• A line of latrines consists of 4-5 units of latrines. Placed at 9 different places in the area. A total of 92 units of pour flush latrines.
• KMC is responsible for maintaining and cleaning these latrines, 3 janitorial workers are assigned to clean them each morning.• Every Monday and Friday they clean the pits. During festivals the pits are cleaned daily.• Families contribute Rs.30.00 every 3 months to buy necessary detergents and antiseptics. Residents Conduct shramadhana campaigns to clean the latrines.• Average of 20 people per latrine.• Open defecation is a common practice among children and also women at night.
• 33.3% of the women of the urban slums found their efforts to clean the latrines are in vain• Waste water disposal to network of drains• Illegal construction of houses obstructing drain• KMC collects solid waste in the morning, dumped in Gohagoda.• Yet it was observed that there are always domes of solid waste in the drains in the area.
Conclusion• Population growth in the area is causing land fragmentation, high housing density and lack of sanitation facilities increases the intensity of the issue.• Majority of women have obtained primary education and have the basic knowledge on sanitation but their attitudes and practices differ.
• Health education to bring about an attitude change is important• Women could be motivated and empowered to raise a voice• Regulations to minimize water wastage