Soap Stories and Toilet Tales (10 Case Studies)

This collection of case studies highlights that existing norms, habits and attitudes can be transformed when the motivation for adopting appropriate sanitary or hygienic behavior is understood. In this process, social development outcomes emerge as central drivers for change. Privacy, dignity, affiliation and pride are important catalysts that function both as a means and an end in improving hygiene and sanitation behaviours.
The central role children play in creating hygienic schools is highlighted in the stories from Egypt, India, Senegal, and Nepal. Provision of appropriate facilities such as separate toilet blocks for girls in schools leads to higher attendance rates, especially once girls have begun menstruation and require privacy. The Bangladesh tale demonstrates how interpersonal communication can change stong taboos around menstrual hygiene, whereby girls allowed to hygienically manage their menstruation without being stigmatized.
The Bolivia, Nicaragua, Zambia, Cambodia and Sierra Leone case studies describe how collective processes of change in communities have resulted in Total Sanitation. By focusing on eliminating open-defecation, the conditions of a whole community can be transformed. Keeping a clean and healthy community can help community can help build and maintain community morale.


Case Study 1. Egypt: Empowered for good

Case Study 2. India’s ’clean school and village’ movement

Case Study 3. Senegal ’Building for life’ – in the midst of civil insurgency

Case Study 4. Bolivia: A new-fangled device arrives in the Bolivian Altiplano: the toilet

Case Study 5. Cambodia: Village decides to bring sanitation closer to home

Case Study 6. Zambia: Chief Macha’s toilet revolution

Case Study 7. Nepals school-led total sanitation seems unstoppable

Case Study 8. Sierra Leone: Singing about the unmentionable

Case Study 9: Nicaragua: ’being dirty had to end’

Case Study 10: Bangladesh: tackling menstrual hygiene taboos