Tag Archives: Community-Led Total Sanitation

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)

Issue 181| March 6, 2015 | Community-Led Total Sanitation

This issue focuses on recent CLTS studies, reports, blog posts, and videos. Included is a new issue of Frontiers of CLTS on sustainability; reports on the health impacts of open defecation; videos and reports on CLTS programs in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, and Kenya; and other studies/resources.


Sustainability and CLTS: Taking Stock. Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights, Issue 4, Feb 2015. S Cavill. Link clts
There are multiple and complex challenges associated with achieving sustainability. Habits are hard to break and so sustainability of behavior change continues to be a major preoccupation. The CLTS and WASH communities need to continue to share learning and insights and to draw practical conclusions that lead to better practice. Action learning that is grounded in field realities, open-mindedness, mutual respect, and sharing is the way forward. The accessibility of the four evaluations in the opening pages of Frontiers sets a good precedent.

Other issues covered in this series of Frontiers of CLTS are: Issue 1: Participatory Design Development for Sanitation | Issue 2: How to Trigger for Handwashing with Soap | Issue 3: Disability—Making CLTS Fully Inclusive |


Webinar on Participatory Design Development for Sanitation – March 26, 2015, 6–8 a.m. EDT. Link
Ben Cole will be discussing his experiences in applying participatory design to accompany and extend Malawi’s national CLTS program since 2012.  Participatory design is a natural extension to the processes applied in CLTS programs. Mr. Cole’s work in three rural districts of Malawi demonstrates the immense potential that participatory design can offer to CLTS programming. It offers a low-cost engagement tool that can support traditional follow-up approaches to CLTS programming.


Talking Shit: Is Community-Led Total Sanitation a Radical and Revolutionary Approach to Sanitation? Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, Jan/Feb 2015. M Galvin.Link
In contrast to past approaches, one of CLTS’s main tenets is strictly no subsidies of finance or materials. In the absence of monitoring and evaluation systems, it is not clear whether its immediate achievements are sustainable. In addition to questioning its sustainability, it is essential to examine CLTS through the analytical lens of power dynamics and human rights.

Lessons from Pakistan’s Approach to Total Sanitation. CLTS Blog, Feb 2015. J Myers, CLTS Knowledge Hub. Link
Pakistan represents an excellent example of adaptations being made to the traditional CLTS process due to local conditions. It is due to conducting CLTS in areas recovering from the 2010 floods that some of these adaptations have been made.

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Frontiers of CLTS Issue 4: Sustainability and CLTS- Taking Stock

Frontiers of CLTS Issue 4: Sustainability and CLTS- Taking Stock, 2015.

Sustainability is without doubt one of the most burning subject matters that subsumes many of the issues that we are seeing in CLTS and wider WASH practice. clts

There have been several useful studies on sustainability that have highlighted some of the different aspects as well as the complexities involved. However, it is unclear how much of the learning from these studies has been built into current and future programming and practice.

Based on existing research and our own understanding, this issue of Frontiers of CLTS is an attempt at an up to date synthesis of where we are at the beginning of 2015.

In the issue, we identify some priority areas for learning: How to phase in sanitation marketing; Post-ODF engagement of government, NGOS, donors and others; How to ensure equity and inclusion; How to transform social norms; Monitoring, learning, changing.

CLTS and Sustainability: A Work/Writeshop – Call for abstracts

The CLTS Knowledge Hub at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is hosting an international work- and writeshop on CLTS and Sustainability from 6-12 April 2015 at Lukenya Getaway near Nairobi, Kenya.

Participants’ writings, together with commissioned pieces of work will form the basis of a publication on sustainability that will published in the IDS series Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights.

Potential contributors are requested to send an abstract of 500-900 words to
P.Bongartz@ids.ac.uk by 31st January 2015. If your application is successful, you will be invited to work on a first draft to be submitted by 13th March 2015.

For more information go to:  http://www.communityledtotalsanitation.org/story/call-abstracts-writeshop-and-publication-sustainability

SuSanA Discussion Forum – Shame in sanitation

A series of interesting posts on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and the shaming strategy/approach used in CLTS.


  • Not a big fan of such tactics either, but I think one needs to acknowledge the other side too, i.e. open defecation is not simply an individual problem but rather one that effects entire communities, so exerting social pressure on the offenders is to some extend justified. The main problem seems to be that it is “all sticks and no carrots”, which given the low economic capabilities of many offenders isn’t very likely to work in the medium to long term.
  • Whistle-blowing by students to stop open defecators is like promoting gang-mobbing as a sort of rule of law. There are underlying reasons for why open defecation is practiced. One billion open defecators cannot be wrong. The psychology of shaming people for defecating in the open or even discussing defecation in public is a deep-rooted one relating to the commonly shared taboo surrounding human excreta. I would even accuse WASH experts and senior officials for indirectly contributing to this behavior when they use swear words to describe human excreta. This is the last chapter in human development and most people have not progressed beyond childhood when it comes to discussing excreta.


Robert Chambers – So Much to Keep Up With, So Much to Learn

This was the first time I have been to the annual four and a half day conference of the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina.  Like the annual WEDC conference, there was a huge, almost overwhelming, harvest of information and learning. Here are some bullets of things that struck me:

Inequality is big, big now, with the post-2015 agenda.  It will be picked up and reported in the JMP.  We are entering a new space.  Good. Robert_chambers

Ash. Soap or ash for handwashing.  A JMP committee was unwilling to mention ash because there has been no study of the health effects, only those of soap, although there is no question that microbiologically it is nearly as good as soap.  Let us hope that research will be funded – there are people willing to carry it out.  But the big money for HW research comes, I suppose, from Unilever and Proctor and Gamble.  There is scope here for funding from others.  Ash is poor-friendly – widely available, costless, can be left outside without being stolen or taken by teachers, and is not eaten by goats.  But the deeply rooted refrain is ‘handwashing with soap’.  Again and again one has to argue for including ash – ‘handwashing with soap or ash’ or for that matter, soil, depending on the soil.

Behaviour change.  This came up repeatedly. Far too much to absorb or report but some snippets:

  • Signing a pledge can be effective
  • When someone has invested (e.g in building their own toilet) they may feel they have to keep up appearances and justify it by using it
  • Frequent rewards can reinforce behaviour
  • Special times can be picked as opportunities for change – e.g. a marriage or funeral
  • New behaviours can piggy-back on one another through linking
  • ‘Choice is the enemy of behaviour change’.
  • People infer motives from observing their own behaviour (linked with dissonance reduction)

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One day CLTS sharing and learning workshops

CLTS Knowledge Hub logo

Conference goers in Asia and Africa can get updated on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) during two one day sharing and learning workshops.

The CLTS Knowledge Hub at IDS will host the first workshop on Sunday 14 September in conjunction with the annual WEDC Conference that takes place in Hanoi, Viet Nam from 15-19 September 2014.

The second workshop is on 7 October 2014 in Dakar, Senegal. This is one day before the start of AfricaSan 4 conference that is being held in Dakar, Senegal from 8-10 October 2014.

For full details go to: www.communityledtotalsanitation.org/events

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation

Issue 149 | June 6, 2014 | Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)

This issue updates the December 2013 Weekly on CLTS with 2014 studies, reports, and videos. Included are a May 2014 video of Dr. Kamal Kar discussing CLTS challenges, an article criticizing CLTS, a UNICEF evaluation of its Community Approaches to Total Sanitation program, and other reports and videos. washplusweekly

The June 13th issue of the Weekly will focus on cookstove issues and the next issue of the Weekly on WASH-related issues will be on June 27, 2014.


The Potential of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in Achieving an Open Defecation Free World, 2014. Institute of Development Studies. (Video)
(NOTE: The actual presentation begins at about 4 minutes into the video.) Dr. Kamal Kar, the pioneer of CLTS, speaks about the potential of the CLTS approach in achieving the sanitation Millennium Development Goals with a special focus on Africa. He also discusses second and third generation challenges of CLTS such as sustainability, waste containment, and the politics of scaling up.


Shaming and Sanitation in Indonesia: A Return to Colonial Public Health Practices?Development and Change, Jan 2014. S Engel. (Link)
CLTS involves more than just education and encouragement; it uses social shaming and punishment. The authors argue that this is not only an inadequate approach but one that echoes coercive, race-based colonial public health practices. This article thus integrates extant historiography on Indonesian colonial medicine with contemporary scholarly literature and field research on CLTS using case studies of a 1920s hookworm-eradication program funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, and the current World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, both in Java.


Evaluation of the WASH Sector Strategy “Community Approaches to Total Sanitation” (CATS), 2014. UNICEF. (Link)
In the context of the recent evolution of the sanitation sector, CATS can be seen in a twofold way: as a move from technically based, supply-driven approaches toward behavior change, demand-driven approaches; and also as a recognition of the centrality of the adoption of a new social norm around ending open defecation as a key issue to be addressed, with impact on and linkages with other sectors.

Testing CLTS Approaches for Scalability: Systematic Literature Review, 2012. V Venkataramanan. (Link)
This report presents findings from a systematic literature review conducted by The Water Institute at UNC as part of the Plan International USA project: “Testing Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Approaches for Scalability.” Despite widespread implementation of CLTS and many claims of success, no systematic review has been carried out on the effectiveness and impact of CLTS programs. The objectives of the systematic review of the grey literature were to characterize the breadth of grey literature on CLTS and to describe the role of key internal actors—natural leaders, teachers, and local government—on sanitation and hygiene outcomes.

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