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Manuals | September 13, 2011

A Practical Guide for Building a Simple Pit Latrine

How to Build Your Latrine and Use It Hygienically, for the Dignity, Health, and Well Being of Your Family

This do-it-yourself guide copublished by the Global Water Initiative provides step-by-step instruction on building simple pit latrines. It was designed for use at the individual household level to assist families in West Africa who have already decided to build their own latrines. The goal of the guide is to ensure that users will be satisfied with their new latrines so they will permanently abandon the practice of open air defecation.


  • Foreword

  • Why Build a Latrine? Laurent and His Family Give Their Reasons

  • Where Will I Build My Latrine?

  • How to Dig the Pit

  • Reinforcing the Walls of the Pit in Stable Soils

  • Reinforing the Walls of the Pit in Unstable Soils

  • How Do I Make the Concrete Bricks?

  • Checking the Quality of the Slab

  • Installing the Concrete Slab

  • Making a Traditional Slab

  • Construction of the Superstructure

  • What Should I Do When the Latrine Pit Is Full?

  • Using and Maintaining the Latrine

  • What Has Laurent Done after Getting This Information?