Improving the user experience: a powerful lever to improve sanitation practices in low-income communities

Des toilettes communautaires à Pune, en Inde - Photo © Archipel&Co/ Maja Bialon

Bérangère Magarinos-Ruchat, Chief Sustainability Officer, Firmenich

Maureen Ravily, Manager, Archipel&Co

For the last decades, access to sanitation has been mostly addressed from the “infrastructure” angle: most of the effort has been placed on building sanitation facilities and developing tech-oriented equipment. Whilst these innovations are necessary, they tend to miss a critical issue: the user experience. This article further investigates this issue of user experience by focusing on one specifi c factor: malodor. It introduces key results from a research run by Firmenich, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Archipel&Co that explores the role of malodor in sanitation-related decisions in 10 lowincome urban settlements in Kenya, South Africa, China and India.