CLTS Blog posts
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.
This was the question being considered at a recent IDS CLTS Knowledge Hub event held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, organised with Plan International Ethiopia. This useful and productive learning and sharing event entitled “Using a CLTS Approach and Tools in Peri-Urban and Urban Environments” took place from 13th to 15th June 2016.
Hands of majority of motivators in Fatehgarh Saheb rise to a question – ‘how many of you have taken shit in your hands?’
It is surprising. Hands rise without hesitation, with pride though. One would expect hands rise to holding a sweet in hand, their child in arms, or a precious thing, may be. But shit?
Asked don’t they feel the disgust, they reply in negative. They say that this way, they are able to explain most convincingly the relation between shit, flies and food. A sarpanch (village headman) seconds this – he says people get moved by this the most.
Monitoring is always an important part of the development process, especially in CLTS. What are the factors and milestones we discuss when it comes to improving Water, Sanitation and Hygiene? We discuss Open Defecation Free status (ODF). We discuss uptake of handwashing with soap. We also discuss the construction of latrines. All of these factors can be indicators that will point to improved sanitation standards and the potential reduction of diarrheal disease. But how can we monitor and evaluate these indicators in a regular, timely, and accurate way?