Recordings from webinar with BMGF grantees: “What constitutes success for CLTS? – Measuring community outcomes and behavior change”

In July a webinar took place with the title “What constitutes success for CLTS? – Measuring community outcomes and behavior change”. The recordings of this webinar are now available as sound files (podcasts) and as videos. In the webinar, experts working with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Building Demand for Sanitation” Programme shared their insights on this topic.

The webinar had a chat show format where, following a panel interview, the audience had the chance to interact with the panelists. The sound-only mp3 files should be useful for people without access to Youtube or for those who would like to listen to the webinar recordings on their mobile phones while commuting or travelling for example.

Webinar recordings:

  • Introduction by Pippa Scott (Euforic Services)Link to recording on YouTube
  • Chat show with panelists: Ada Oko Williams (WaterAid), Darren Saywell (Plan), Hans-Joachim Mosler (EAWAG), Jonny Crocker (UNC); moderator: Jane Bewan (WSP)Link
  • Feedback from breakout rooms: Link
  • Closing panel: Link
  • Links to all audio files and additional readings are available on the SuSanA discussion forum on page 2 of the discussion thread
  • Playlist to all the webinar videos on Youtube (all playlists of SuSanA are available here)
  • Information about the BDS portfolio of the BMGF is available here in a recent portfolio update and overview report (June 2015)


The webinar had an innovative format. It was run in a “chat show” format – with a set of interview questions to the panel and without powerpoint presentations. It also included four “break-out rooms” where participants could speak to each other in smaller groups, therefore allowing for more interactions.

Some general conclusions from the webinar:

1. ODF (open defecation free) may be better suited for motivating communities than measuring success and is not a good metric for comparing communities due to its binary nature;
2. Low overall success rates suggest we are missing an opportunity to better target CLTS to specific communities and consider alternate sanitation strategies where CLTS is not appropriate;
3. We need better data and understanding of how to successfully change long-term social norms.

The webinar was organized under the Knowledge Management initiative of the Building Demand for Sanitation (BDS) program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It was organized by Euforic Services, the SuSanA secretariat and the Stockholm Environment Institute. It was aiming to address these questions: “It is startling that there seems to be no consensus about what constitutes success for CLTS programmes. Is 30% an acceptable success rate? How can these rates be optimized? and; what should be our response to communities that do not become defecation free?”


One response to “Recordings from webinar with BMGF grantees: “What constitutes success for CLTS? – Measuring community outcomes and behavior change”

  1. How can these rates be optimized? and; what should be our response to communities that do not become defecation free?” –

    This is an important question considering that CLTS as an approach is one that has received a more world wide acceptance by many sectors including national/central governments and private sector than many other approaches. The missed opportunity is that we are more focused on elimination of open defecation as a practice than the aspect of behaviour change which would be more long term. Context is key, I do not think that there exist an approach that applies to all types of communities even in a single country. the next step is for practitioners to embrace the challenge and device ways to focus the approach to its core principle of changing behaviours

    bringing discussions such as these to practitioners is good way to deal with the issue. Another way is to encourage sharing of experiences.

    for communities that do not stop open defecation, a solution would be to understand the motivation for the current practices. could it be the triggering process applied the drivers of ‘shame’ and ‘disgust’ in a negative way that made the communities recoil back instead of being a trigger for change? could the CLTS have been applied as ‘lets-build-toilets” than lets embrace different practices? I think there is much to be learned in this practice. For example in pastoralist communities in Kenya who are nomadic in nature the elimination of open defecation did not work out well because they are in constant motion. Some NGOs have tried introducing the mobile toilets by use of same temporary materials used to construct the houses. the success of this is still to be determined…..

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