Shared sanitation-sanitation facilities shared by multiple households-is increasingly common in rapidly growing urban areas in low-income countries. However, shared sanitation facilities are often poorly maintained, dissuading regular use and potentially increasing disease risk. In a series of focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, we explored the determinants of shared sanitation management within the context of a larger-scale health impact evaluation of an improved, shared sanitation facility in Maputo, Mozambique. We identified a range of formal management practices users developed to maintain shared sanitation facilities, and found that management strategies were associated with perceived latrine quality. However-even within an intervention context-many users reported that there was no formal system for management of sanitation facilities at the compound level. Social capital played a critical role in the success of both formal and informal management strategies, and low social capital was associated with collective action failure. Shared sanitation facilities should consider ways to support social capital within target communities and identify simple, replicable behavior change models that are not dependent on complex social processes.
Keywords: collective action; sanitation; shared sanitation; social capital; urban.