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Indicator 6.2.1 “Proportion of population using (a) safely managed sanitation services and (b) a hand-washing facility with soap and water“

Target 6.2 seeks to achieve access for all to sanitation and hygiene – this page explains why and how to monitor progress towards the target.

The indicator at a glance

Indicator 6.2.1a tracks the proportion of population that is using an improved sanitation facility, which is not shared with other households, and where the excreta produced is either:

  • treated and disposed in situ;
  • stored temporarily and then emptied and transported to treatment off-site;
  • or transported through a sewer with wastewater and then treated off-site.

Improved sanitation facilities include flush/pour flush to piped sewer system, septic tanks or pit latrines; ventilated improved pit latrines, composting toilets or pit latrines with slabs.

Indicator 6.2.1b tracks the proportion of population with a handwashing facility with soap and water on premises.

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.

Household surveys and censuses (from the National Statistical Office) remain the primary source of information on the different types of facilities used by the population, complemented with information on service levels collected from administrative sources and regulators.

Available support 

The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are the custodians of indicator 6.2.1. For any enquiries about available support, please contact their helpdesk.

Guidance on data collection and reporting

Online support

  • Helpdesk (email, phone, video conference).
  • Webinars held by Sanitation and Water for All partners and other networks of WASH professionals.

Face-to-face support

  • Support to governments and national stakeholders to identify data gaps, collect new and compile existing data, and analyse data to enable national and global reporting (through WHO and UNICEF regional and country offices).
  • Technical consultations with national statistics offices and ministries on updated estimates (through WHO and UNICEF regional and country offices).
  • Support national stakeholders to develop national and international targets to reduce inequalities in WASH services (through WHO and UNICEF regional and country offices).
  • Country visits to provide technical advice on national and global monitoring.
  • Regional workshops.
  • International meetings.

Data and progress reporting


Why monitor sanitation?

Sanitation data can be used to identify correlation with diseases, and illustrate social and economic benefits of investing in sanitation.