This system in addition to practicing open defecation was the only option for disposing human feces till the seventies while communities were confined and internal and external immigration was very limited. Of course the traditional dry toilets weren't perfect as the receptacles were open to flies, and animals promoting diseases such as diarrhea and intestinal worms. However, the environment and health situation was better than the situation after the seventies, when the revolution came and opened the country to the world without any control. Immigration was open and people were fascinated with the flush toilets and came back to their homes and replaced the dry toilets with flush toilets without any concerns to the proper house plumbing and the final disposal of wastewater which was disposed to the open in most of the cases.
After the revolution two entities were established, the first one is the National Water and Sanitation Authority responsible for urban areas, and the second is the General Authority for Rural Water Projects responsible for rural areas. The first entity took its role in the urban areas albeit deficiencies here and there but officially it's kept committed to water and sanitation, while the second entity limited its activities to water according to its mandates and rural communities are left on their own without any support with regards to sanitation, though they compose around 75% of the population. Hence, there is an institutional gap in rural sanitation and the only active body in this field is SFD.
SFD has adopted, since its establishment, the improved traditional dry toilets, but rural communities don't accept it and ask for equity with urban communities, where conventional sewerage networks were implemented regardless the low water consumption. The plumbing of a typical rural house isn’t appropriate for sewerage networks and treatment plants as it allows the disposal of all wastes to the network, in addition to the very low water consumption (around 30 l/c/d). Therefore, the best approach to rural sanitation is raising the demand for building toilets to quit open defecation, and on site disposal and treatment.
According to SFD data, rural sanitation coverage is around 29%, which means that 71% of the households are either without toilets, hence, practice open defecation or have toilets, but dispose their wastewater to the open. With this situation, SFD has adopted hygiene awareness campaigns (using community-led total sanitation) to deliver three messages, sanitation, hand washing, and household water treatment. As a result of the hygiene campaigns, sanitation coverage rises from average 29% to 70% with average cost 1000$/campaign.
Under the sanitation sector, SFD works in three subsectors:
- Wastewater management
- Solid Waste management
- Training and awareness
In general, every water project is accompanied by hygiene awareness campaign in order to achieve the highest impact out of it.