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The technical is political: understanding the political implications of sector characteristics for the delivery of sanitation services

Research report

Written by Nathaniel Mason, Daniel Harris, Richard Batley

Research report

The characteristics of service delivery sectors have political and technical implications. These characteristics, relating to market, task and demand as well as the type of good produced, can be applied to sanitation services in order to explore and respond to some of the problems of individual and collective action that affect the sector.

The implications of these characteristics differ depending on the subtype of sanitation involved, for instance whether the context is urban, rural or peri-urban and what the mechanisms are for the containment, removal, treatment and disposal or reuse of faecal waste.

Applied to specific sanitation subtypes from an understanding of the wider context, the characteristics provide a broad analytical framework that can help governance and sector specialists go beyond technical design approaches to understand and unlock the underlying incentives for different actors.

Nathaniel Mason, Richard Batley and Daniel Harris