CLTS Blog posts
Ajit Tiwari is Deputy Commissioner, Swachh Bharat Mission, Madhya Pradesh. Years ago, prior to launch of Swachh Bharat, he was working as BDO of Budhni block in Sehore district, and was exposed to CLTS training. He says everyday he went to the training thinking that he would attend that day only if he found it useful- and ended up attending all five days. To convince himself of the practicality of approach, he started ‘triggering’ techniques in villages himself. Village after village began to become ODF in his district.
Sandeep Kadam, DC Mandi, again demonstrates the criticality of district leadership for change. A district already declared open defecation free, Sandeep has not only continued the momentum, but reenergised it by activating mahila mandals (women groups) across his district. Hailing from Maharashtra, he says the philosophy behind this approach is the teaching of Mahatma Phule – ‘teach a woman, and you reform a family’.
Studies show that handwashing with soap can reduce the risk of contracting diarrhoea by up to 47%. In Fort Dauphin, a small town in the South East of Madagascar, poor hygiene practices and widespread open defecation has had serious consequences for a population struggling with diarrhoea and malnutrition. Poverty and poor infrastructure means that the overwhelming majority of residents do not have in-house water connections. Water must bought by the bucket, at public water points throughout the town. With water such a scarce resource, handwashing is not always seen as a primary concern.
I was excited to travel by road to Kumasi and while I was looking forward to site-seeing, I was more eager to start engaging in stimulating conversations with other participants at the 39th WEDC conference. Because I was tired from my trip, I spent the first few minutes after my arrival resting and orienting myself to a place that I would call home for the next five days of the conference. During our road trip to Kumasi I immediately got engrossed in a conversation with a member of WEDC. Our discussion largely bordered on various critical emerging issues in the sector.
A fair representation of water sanitation and hygiene practitioners, researchers, local government representatives and donors convened for a CLTS workshop held by the CLTS knowledge hub of the institute of development studies in Kumasi Ghana on the 10th July 2016. Most international sector representation as myself used the opportunity of attending the 39th WEDC conference with the theme Ensuring Availability and Sustainable Management of Water and Sanitation for All from the 11-15th July 2016 to also attend the CLTS workshop.
The WEDC Conference 2016 had an impressive line up of paper presentations, side sessions and capacity building workshops across the entire WASH value chain and proved to be an interesting and engaging experience. I participated and interacted with the presenters, participants and facilitators mostly involved with CLTS and scaling up rural sanitation. The learning and sharing side session organized by the CLTS Hub was appropriately timed at the beginning of the conference, setting the context for understanding the WASH context in Ghana as well as other African countries.
The theme for this year’s WEDC Conference was Ensuring Availability and Sustainable Management of Water and Sanitation for All. The theme reflects the ambitions at the heart of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development to ensure that no one is left behind in efforts to achieve universal access to WASH by 2030. It’s now a critical time for ensuring that WASH research, programmes, policies and services are designed and delivered in ways that promote Equity and Non-Discrimination.
The WHO/UNICEF joint monitoring programme defines improved sanitation as access to individual household toilets. This ultimate goal advocates for every family to access and maintain their own latrine - providing the dignity, safety and convenience of not having to share. However, in many urban areas issues of land ownership, space and a lack of infrastructure make this an impossible aim. Although CLTS has been very successful in creating the demand for sanitation, we must look further to viable and sustainable solutions in urban settings which can respond to these challenges.
Urban sanitation differs from rural sanitation in many ways however one of the fundamental differences is that in urban areas one group, (usually the wealthy), benefits from the public provision of sanitation at the expense of others (usually the poor). Poor households in urban areas must often find their own solutions to failures in sanitation services. During a workshop on urban CLTS (U-CLTS) held in Ethiopia and hosted by Plan International, we explored the potential of CLTS to support safely managed, city-wide sanitation.
I am placing below some reflections after attending the urban CLTS workshop in Addis:
1. My objective in attending was to enhance my knowledge of the understanding and practice of the application of CLTS in urban areas, the issues involved and potential ways to move forward. My objective was more than adequately addressed by the range of experiences that I got to hear about.
2. What I have distilled from these three days (both during sessions and conversations at meal times and in coffee sessions) is summarized below under a certain number of headings.