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Innovative Bangladesh: CLTS Sharing and Learning at the 6th SACOSAN Conference in Dhaka

Regional CLTS sharing and learning workshop, Sunday 10 January 2016: Innovative Bangladesh!
The traditional pre-SAN gathering of CLTS practitioners and enthusiasts brought together an interesting and eclectic group in Dhaka, with a notably large and welcome presence by the Afghanistan delegation. The focus of the first session was on innovation and new learning. While always difficult to focus the group’s attention tightly on new learning, several interesting new developments were highlighted.

Why we should not set 'targets' for ODF

The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is a revamped programme on sanitation launched by the H’ble Prime Minister, with a clear focus on outcomes. The programme was drafted carefully, looking at learnings from past sanitation programmes in the rural sector. Despite many programmes, the rural sanitation coverage rate did not get much success, for varied reasons. The primary reason was inability to implement programme in a pure ‘demand driven’ way, and lack of capacities to trigger behavioural change, required for this demand generation.

The Dhaka Declaration

An important change agreed upon is the creation of a SACOSAN Secretariat and a Working Group, to facilitate communication and horizontal learning between the biennial conferences. The Sri Lankan government has volunteered to host the Secretariat.

Another point in the declaration is to reach out to other multi-country fora with information and advocacy for sanitation improvement. SAARC, the regional coalition,  was specifically mentioned; and a SAARC representative spoke in the concluding ceremony.

Reporting from SACOSAN VI

The eight large and small countries involved in these biennial South Asia Sanitation Conferences (SACOSAN) differ in important ways. The Maldives is an island nation. Bhutan and Nepal are mountainous areas. Bangladesh’s, Afghanistan’s, and Pakistan’s populations are majority Muslim. India, of course, is the largest and most diverse. And Sri Lanka may be the most advanced in terms of literacy and other development indicators.  Sri Lanka has recently experienced civil war and a tsunami, which also hit the Maldives. Nepal had a terrible earthquake last spring.

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