“Don’t teach us what is sanitation and hygiene.” This quote from Maqbul, a middle-aged male resident in Modher Bosti, a slum in Dhaka city, summed up the frustration of many people living in urban poverty to ongoing sanitation and hygiene programmes. In the light of their experiences, such programmes provide “inappropriate sanitation”, or demand personal investments in situations of highly insecure tenure, and/or teach “hygiene practices” that relate neither to local beliefs nor to the ground realities of a complex urban poverty.