Understanding social acceptability of arsenic-safe technologies in rural Bangladesh: A user-oriented analysis

D.K. Kundu, A. Gupta, A.P.J. Mol, M. Nasreen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Contamination of shallow tube well drinking water by naturally occurring arsenic is a severe societal and human health challenge in Bangladesh. Multiple technological interventions seeking to ameliorate the problem face hurdles in securing social acceptance, i.e. a willingness of users to receive and use a technology. While most articles focus on expert understandings of social acceptability, this article analyzes how users themselves understand the factors shaping social acceptability of safe drinking water options in rural Bangladesh. We then deploy such understandings to comparatively assess which factors users see as most important in securing social acceptance of three safe drinking water options in rural Bangladesh: the arsenic removal household (Sono) filter; the deep tube well; and improved dug well. We draw on focus groups and semi-structured interviews with technology users in six villages across three districts to analyze how users assess the social acceptability of specific arsenic-safe technologies. Our findings highlight that factors such as availability, affordability and compatibility with existing water use practices, as understood by users, are key to securing their acceptance of a specific arsenic-safe option. In concluding, we point to a future research agenda in analyzing user-oriented social acceptability of arsenic-safe technologies in developing country contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-334
JournalWater Policy
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Bangladesh
arsenic
drinking water
water
acceptance
well
well water
water use
village
developing world
analysis
environmental pollution
filter
social factors
developing country
expert
district
interview
health
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Cite this

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Understanding social acceptability of arsenic-safe technologies in rural Bangladesh: A user-oriented analysis. / Kundu, D.K.; Gupta, A.; Mol, A.P.J.; Nasreen, M.

In: Water Policy, Vol. 18, No. 2, 2016, p. 318-334.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AB - Contamination of shallow tube well drinking water by naturally occurring arsenic is a severe societal and human health challenge in Bangladesh. Multiple technological interventions seeking to ameliorate the problem face hurdles in securing social acceptance, i.e. a willingness of users to receive and use a technology. While most articles focus on expert understandings of social acceptability, this article analyzes how users themselves understand the factors shaping social acceptability of safe drinking water options in rural Bangladesh. We then deploy such understandings to comparatively assess which factors users see as most important in securing social acceptance of three safe drinking water options in rural Bangladesh: the arsenic removal household (Sono) filter; the deep tube well; and improved dug well. We draw on focus groups and semi-structured interviews with technology users in six villages across three districts to analyze how users assess the social acceptability of specific arsenic-safe technologies. Our findings highlight that factors such as availability, affordability and compatibility with existing water use practices, as understood by users, are key to securing their acceptance of a specific arsenic-safe option. In concluding, we point to a future research agenda in analyzing user-oriented social acceptability of arsenic-safe technologies in developing country contexts.

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