Kigali, Rwanda lacks a centralized sewer system, which leaves residents to choose between on-site options; the majority of residents in informal settlements use pit latrines as their primary form of sanitation. When their pits fill, the pits are either sealed, or emptied; emptying is often done by hand and then dumped in the environment, putting the residents and the broader population at risk of infectious disease outbreaks. In this paper, we used revealed and stated preference models to: (1) estimate the demand curve for improved emptying services; and, (2) evaluate household preferences and the willingness to pay (WTP) for different attributes of improved emptying services. We also quantify the costs of improved service delivery at different scales of production. The study included 1167 households from Kigali, Rwanda across 30 geographic clusters. Our results show that, at a price of US$79 per pit, 15% of all the pits would be emptied by improved emptying services, roughly the current rate of manual emptying. Grouping empties by neighborhood and ensuring that each truck services an average of four households per day could reduce the production costs to US$44 per empty, ensuring full cost coverage at that price. At a lower price of US$24, we estimate that the sealing of pits might be fully eliminated, with full coverage of improved emptying services for all pits; this would require a relatively small subsidy of US$20 per empty. Our results show that households had strong preferences for fecal sludge (FS) treatment, formalized services (which include worker protections), and distant disposal. The results from the study indicate a few key policies and operational strategies that can be used for maximizing the inclusion of low-income households in safely managed sanitation services, while also incorporating household preferences and participation.
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