An analysis of water collection labor among women and children in 24 sub-Saharan African countries

Jay P. Graham, Mitsuaki Hirai, Seung-Sup Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: It is estimated that more than two-thirds of the population in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) must leave their home to collect water, putting them at risk for a variety of negative health outcomes. There is little research, however, quantifying who is most affected by long water collection times. Objectives: This study aims to a) describe gender differences in water collection labor among both adults and children (<15 years of age) in the households (HHs) that report spending more than 30 minutes collecting water, disaggregated by urban and rural residence; and b) estimate the absolute number of adults and children affected by water collection times greater than 30 minutes in 24 SSA countries. Methods: We analyzed data from the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) (2005-2012) to describe water collection labor in 24 SSA countries. Results: Among households spending more than 30 minutes collecting water, adult females were the primary collectors of water across all 24 countries, ranging from 46% in Liberia (17,412 HHs) to 90% in Cote d'Ivoire (224,808 HHs). Across all countries, female children were more likely to be responsible for water collection than male children (62% vs. 38%, respectively). Six countries had more than 100,000 households (HHs) where children were reported to be responsible for water collection (greater than 30 minutes): Burundi (181,702 HHs), Cameroon (154,453 HHs), Ethiopia (1,321,424 HHs), Mozambique (129,544 HHs), Niger (171,305 HHs), and Nigeria (1,045,647 HHs). Conclusion: In the 24 SSA countries studied, an estimated 3.36 million children and 13.54 million adult females were responsible for water collection in households with collection times greater than 30 minutes. We suggest that accessibility to water, water collection by children, and gender ratios for water collection, especially when collection times are great, should be considered as key indicators for measuring progress in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0155981
JournalPLoS One
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 1

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water analysis
labor
Personnel
households
Water
water
Africa South of the Sahara
Sub-Saharan Africa
Burundi
Liberia
Mozambique
Cote d'Ivoire
Niger
Sanitation
Cameroon
Ethiopia
sanitation
collectors
Nigeria
Hygiene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

An analysis of water collection labor among women and children in 24 sub-Saharan African countries. / Graham, Jay P.; Hirai, Mitsuaki; Kim, Seung-Sup.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 11, No. 6, e0155981, 01.06.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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