114. Achieving Total Sanitation and Hygiene Coverage within a Generation: Lessons from East Asia

This paper introduces findings from research in four East Asian countries – Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. These countries were selected because they produced rapid and remarkable results in delivering total sanitation coverage in their formative stages as nation states. Although their initial conditions were very different from those currently found in ‘fragile’ and ‘least-developed’ countries in Africa and South Asia, some useful conclusions can be used to inform discussions on development of strategic approaches to delivering sanitation for all. This discussion paper presents findings on the political economy of sanitation and hygiene services which delivered total coverage within a generation. The generalised conclusions are not intended to claim blueprints for success but rather to feed into dialogue in the sanitation and hygiene sectors on how the necessary step change for delivering universal access to services can be achieved by 2030. Although in all cases sanitation progress is punctuated by moments of crisis that spurred on action – such as slum fires, disease outbreaks and civil unrest – the overall strategy was primarily motivated by the positive goal of nation building. The research used a combination of archival searches for legislation, speeches, press and official documentation, as well as key informant interviews and data analysis. (Link)


Northover, H.; Ryu, S. K.; Brewer, T. 2016. Achieving Total Sanitation and Hygiene Coverage within a Generation: Lessons from East Asia. WaterAid. 10 p.

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