Disposal of Child Faeces

Indicator Phrasing

% of households with children aged 1 to 4 years disposing of children’s faeces in a hygienic manner

Indicator Phrasing

INDICATOR PHRASING: % of households with children aged 1 to 4 years disposing of children’s faeces in a hygienic manner

What is its purpose?

Even in households that have access to an improved sanitation facility, children's faeces often are not disposed of safely and pose a threat to the health of both children and adults. This indicator therefore assesses the proportion of caregivers who dispose of the children's faeces in the improved sanitation facility. Use this indicator only in areas where it is not common to use disposable diapers.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Collect the following data by conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of mothers (or other caregivers) of children aged 1 to 4 years:




Q1: Do you have a child that is older than 1 year and younger than 4 years?


Q1: yes / no

Q2: Can you please show me the place where you usually dispose of this child’s faeces?


1) put into any type of improved sanitation facility (see comment below; verify by observation)

2) throws it in a field / bush / river

3) buries it in the soil

5) other - specify: ............................   


To calculate the indicator's value, divide the number of respondents who reported disposing of their children's faeces in an improved sanitation facility (see below) by the total number of interviewed respondents. Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage.

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by location and the households’ wealth category.

Important Comments

1) It is not recommended to use this indicator in areas where children commonly have disposable diapers (as their disposal is a much more complicated question – they cannot be thrown into a latrine and at the same time disposal into common waste is problematic due to potential health hazards).


2) There are only two types of child faeces disposal: safe and unsafe. Faeces are disposed of in a safe way when they are put in an improved sanitation facility (pit latrine with slab, ventilated improved pit latrine, flush / pour toilet connected to a sewer system or a septic tank, composting toilet). Ensure that all data collectors have a good understanding of what "an improved sanitation facility" means and are able to recognize it. 


3) When the respondent says that s/he disposes of the children's faeces in a sanitation facility, it is important that the data collector goes and sees whether 1) the sanitation facility is an improved model; and 2) whether it has signs of being used. 


4) It is recommended that this question is asked before the data collectors start asking about other sanitation-related topics. Otherwise, it is likely that the respondent will reply what s/he thinks the "correct answer" is.

This guidance was prepared by Tearfund from People in Need’s IndiKit guidance ©

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