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Blood: Water Technical eUpdate Vol. 20

Resources for CLTS Programs

Dear Partners:

Happy new year all! What better way to kick off the year than to explore the depths of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)! This month’s eUpdate is dedicated to this specific and innovative methodology for mobilizing communities to completely eliminate open defecation (OD)! And more than that, a methodology that positions communities to take their own action to become ODF (open defecation free) as a standard of living.

At the heart of CLTS lies the recognition that providing toilets does not guarantee their use, nor does it result in improved sanitation and hygiene practices by people. Historically, approaches to sanitation programming were driven by hard-to-apply standards and were often paired with subsidies as an incentive. But this often led to uneven adoption, problems with long-term sustainability and only partial use. It also created a culture of dependence and undermined community ownership. The problem of OD in communities persisted, with its negative impact on the health of members within. 

Foundational to CLTS is something called triggering. Triggering is the process of facilitating participatory exercises  with the aim of participants realizing the negative effects of open defecation with an intended commitment to stop it through real-time collective analysis of its own sanitation situation. Triggering involves a mix of value exploration, information sharing, community mapping, develop action plans and positive motivators towards the goal of achieving and claiming the title of an an ODF community! Monitoring is an essential component of the post-triggering process for ensuring initial success is maintained. Which is then often followed by a process of verification and certification that a community is ODF. 

In contrast, CLTS presents an approach that focuses on the behavior change needed to cultivate sustainable improvements – investing in community mobilization instead of hardware, and shifting from toilet construction for households to the creation of open defecation-free villages. By raising awareness that as long as even a minority continues to defecate in the open everyone is at risk of disease, CLTS triggers the community’s desire for collective change, propels people into action and encourages innovation, mutual support and appropriate local solutions, thus leading to greater ownership and sustainability. 

Although this method was pioneered in the rural context in India, there have been tried and tested of varied adaptations to CLTS in a variety of contexts with marked success. In rural and urban contexts; residential and school-based contexts; as well as in emergency responses. 

Within our community of partners, CLTS has been applied part of comprehensive WASH projects. At the same time we have partners represented here who, working in HIV/AIDS, are consistently challenged on how to improve household and community hygiene needs, in support of a safer environment for immunosuppressed individuals to live and thrive within. CLTS provides WASH and HIV partners a like, with access to improve and empower communities in the areas of hygiene and sanitation. 

The below resources are useful for experienced CLTS practitioners and novices alike! I have compiled a mix of resource types that aim to reinforce the basic foundation of how CLTS is applied, as well as resources which build upon it to explore monitoring, sustainability, explore issues of equity for special needs groups and of course… taking your successes to SCALE! Each of the recourses below are summarized for quick reference with either the link to online access, an attached pdf or both! Spoiler alert, there is quite a few references to a 4 letter word beginning with “s,” in the space of CLTS. 

  • The Handbook on Community Led Total Sanitation:

    This is the “How To” of CLTS! This handbook, developed by the CLTS founder, has been compiled as a source of ideas and experiences that can be used for CLTS orientation workshops, advocacy to stakeholders, training facilitators and natural leaders and implementing CLTS activities. It is a resource book especially for field staff, facilitators and trainers for planning, implementation and follow-up for CLTS. Users of this handbook must feel free to use its guide- lines in the way they find best. The methods described are not the only ones for implementing CLTS. Users are encouraged to explore different ways of preparing for CLTS, for triggering, for post-triggering follow-up, and for supporting and spreading CLTS that fit with local conditions, cultures and opportunities.
    To access click the link or see the attached PDF.
  • Sustainable Sanitation For All: Experiences, Challenges and Innovations:

    This free e-book, published in 2016 is a up-to-date valuable reference on matters of sustainable sanitation. It develops key themes around sustainability by exploring current experience, practices, challenges, innovations and insights, as well as identifying a future research agenda and gaps in current knowledge; applying the landscape of sustainability of CLTS in particular as part of wider sanitation efforts. This is useful for policy makers and practitioners alike, particularly as it sets the stage for future evidence-based hygiene and sanitation priorities.
    To access click the link or see the attached PDF.
  • Community engagement tools for sanitation planning (webinar):

    An important area for capacity development relates to community engagement and the involvement of communities in the planning process of projects. Increasingly planners and government look to tool kits as a turn-key solutions but there is a need to consider what they want to get from the use of a toolkit. A number of planning tools are available to governments, these include SANDEC’s Community Led Urban Environmental Sanitation (CLUES) and Urban Community Led Total Sanitation (U-CLTS) from Practical Action, which has been applied in Nakuru, Kenya. But how do we know which model to choose, how to compare them, and which fits the situation it will be applied in.
    To access click the link or see the attached PDF.
  • Equality and Non-discrimination (EQND) In Sanitation Programs at Scale:

    This issue of Frontiers of CLTS shares and builds on the learning from the full EQND study, which examined issues of equity and non-discrimination in relation to sanitation programs being implemented at scale. It draws on existing global experience and looks at who should be considered potentially disadvantaged and how they can participate. To make this more applicable to practitioners, this resource provides recommendations on best practice that would strengthen CLTS processes to benefit all members of society, who may otherwise be overlooked
    To access click the link or see the attached PDF.
  • Going to Scale with Community-Led Total Sanitation: Reflections on Experience, Issues and Ways Forward:

    This rich resource provides practitioners with applicable elements and strategies for taking their experience with CLTS to scale. The foundation of this reflective document is based upon an inward analysis and review of processes, people, methods and results to extract evidentially what works and how it can be replicated.
  • Facilitating Hands-on Training Workshops for Community Led Total Sanitation:

    This resource is unique from others in that it is a Training-of-training (TOT) guide on CLTS. Developed by expert implementers and based on experiences facilitating hundreds of hundred national, regional and international ‘hands-on’ training workshops in 25 countries. Since December  Users of this Trainers’ Guide must feel free to use its guidelines responsibly and in the way they feel best apply to the audience it is training. It is a highly adaptable tool to support improved training processes within your teams.
  • Keeping Track: CLTS Monitoring, Certification and Verification:

    This Learning Paper gives an overview of what is meant by monitoring, verification and certification, provides detail on what is being measured and verified, who is involved, typical indicators, methods for collecting data, as well as emerging challenges and experience in addressing them. Many of the early adopters of CLTS have now evolved protocols and practices that are in widespread use. These can offer lessons for other countries or agencies in the earlier stages of applying CLTS.

More to come! 



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