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Handwashing Facilities With Soap and Water

Indicator Phrasing

% of households with handwashing facilities with soap and water at home
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of households with handwashing facilities with soap and water at home

French: % de ménages ayant un lieu désigné pour le lavage des mains où l'eau et le savon sont présents

Portuguese: % de agregados familiares com pontos de lavagem das mãos com sabão e água em casa

Czech: % domácností s určeným místem na mytí rukou disponujícím vodou a mýdlem

What is its purpose?

Existing research shows that people with access to a handwashing facility are more likely to wash their hands. Furthermore, observation of handwashing materials by surveyors represents a more reliable proxy for measuring handwashing behaviour than asking individuals to report their own behaviour. This indicator therefore assesses the proportion of households with handwashing facilities with soap and water at home.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Collect the following data by conducting individual interviews and observations among a representative sample of your target group members:


Q1: Can you please show me where you and your family members usually wash your hands?

(instruction for data collector: go and observe the place)


1) no specific handwashing facility available

2) the respondent refused to show the place

3) tippy-tap available

4) bucket with tap available

5) jug available

6) basin available

7) sink available

8) other – specify: ………………..

If a specific place is shown, the data collector needs to observe and record the following:

Q2 for data collector: Is there water available?

A2: yes / no


Q3 for data collector: Is there soap available?

A3: yes / no



Ask the following question only if the previous answer is NO:


Q4: Do you have any soap that you use for washing hands?
A4: yes / no



Ask the following question only if the previous answer is YES:


Q5: Can I please see the soap?


1) soap was reported and was brought in less than 1 minute

2) soap was reported, is available but took longer than 1 minute to bring

3) soap was reported but is NOT available



To calculate the indicator's value, divide the number of respondents whose household has a handwashing facility with water and soap (or can bring soap within 1 minute) by the total number of interviewed respondents. Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage.

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by wealth and other relevant criteria.

Important Comments

1) The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) recommends to disaggregate the results into three sub-categories:

    - % of households with a “basic facility” (= facility with soap and water)

    - % of households with a “limited facility” (= facility with no water or soap)

    - % of households with no facility at all (see JMP’s publication below)


2) Handwashing facilities may be fixed or mobile and include a sink with tap water, buckets with taps, tippy-taps, and jugs or basins designated for handwashing. Soap includes bar soap, liquid soap, powder detergent, and soapy water but does not include ash, soil, sand or other handwashing agents. During the pre-testing it is important to ensure there is common understanding of what is deemed as a handwashing facility. For example, just a 20 litre jerrycan, not adjusted in any way, should not count as a “handwashing facility”.


3) People might be used to leaving their soap at a different place (e.g. somewhere out of the reach of domestic animals, young children or rain) but still using it regularly for washing their hands. That is why it is important to ask question 4 and verify the provided answer by question 5.


4) Consider including an additional question assessing the barriers to hand washing: In your opinion, why some people in your community do not wash their hands?


5) BHA uses a slightly different version of this indicator: "percent of households with soap and water at a handwashing station on premises".

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This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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