Theses defended

Data, Demand and Sanitation. The role of Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools and new trends in crowdsourced and citizen-generated data in measuring demand for toilets and monitoring attainment of the Human Right to Sanitation

Marcus Erridge

Public Defence date
February 7, 2023
Doctoral Programme
Human Rights in Contemporary Societies
Cláudia Lopes e Paula Duarte Lopes
The objectives of this thesis are to (1) develop an interdisciplinary framework to situate demand for sanitation in context of the Human Right to Sanitation (HRtS) and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 and (2) understand how Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools and citizen-led data can contribute to measuring and monitoring access to and demand for sanitation, which extends throughout the Sanitation Value Chain (SVC) to include the containment, emptying, transport, treatment and reuse/disposal of human waste and wastewater. The Human Right to Sanitation (HRtS) emphasises how safe, accessible, and hygienic toilets protect and support human dignity and are essential to human health. An estimated 1.7 billion people worldwide do not have safe sanitation services, whilst 494 million practice open defecation (WHO, 2022). Pathogens from human faeces contribute to diarrheal diseases that kill around 700 children aged under five every day (WHO/UNICEF, 2021). The gap in research this study addresses is the potential use of ICTs to measure sanitation access and demand, through human rights lenses that consider Citizen Science. The primary research question driving this study is 'to what extent can ICT tools and new trends in crowdsourced and citizen-generated data monitor demand for toilets and contribute to the attainment of the HRtS?' To answer this question, this thesis includes a literature review, a survey of development professionals, interviews with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) professionals and data experts and a mapping of digital data tools. The resource matrix provides a resource for WASH-related data gathering. This research generates new knowledge at intersections of the HRtS, ICT tools and citizen-led data. The appendices include ten areas for future research based on this study.