Workshop on School-led Total Sanitation (SLTS) and children's involvement in CLTS

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Between the 23rd and the 25th August 2010, twenty participants from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, the Netherlands, Uganda, the UK and Zambia gathered in Nairobi to discuss School-led Total Sanitation (SLTS) and children’s involvement in Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS). The aim of the workshop was to gather existing experience in these areas, as well as to brainstorm on key issues and ways forward. The event also gave an opportunity for practitioners from different countries and organisations interested in the role of children and schools in CLTS to network and make linkages for follow up.

Participants’ expectations of the workshop included defining SLTS, learning from each other’s experiences, finding out how to integrate SLTS into other programmes and picking up tips on how to best involve children in CLTS. They were also interested in examples of good practice in SLTS and practical issues like documentation of experiences, synergies between different programmes and approaches and networking.

Country presentations
Each country presented their experience of working in the areas of SLTS and children’s involvement in CLTS to date. Whilst in Asia, there has been quite substantial work on these issues, especially in Nepal and India, many of the African countries represented were only just beginning with SLTS, but were able to describe the ways in which children are involved in triggering, follow up and monitoring. In some countries, for example Kenya, despite there not being an SLTS programme, Plan takes school catchment areas as a starting point for CLTS activities.

Sharing and learning
Participants shared memorable anecdotes that illustrated the crucial role children can play in driving their community’s progress to ODF forward as well as practical tools such as games which are used to trigger children. From Nepal, there was a game of snakes and ladders where progress on the board depended on sanitation and hygiene behaviours: for example, not washing your hands means sliding down a snake, whilst having a latrine in your home gets you up a ladder. When workshop participants tried out the game, it was obvious how easily discussions about good sanitation and hygiene behaviour can be woven into this fun activity. Indonesia, Malawi and Ethiopia shared songs that children sing against open defecation or when they come across someone still shitting in the open. Whistles and flags are also used to attract attention to culprits. In India, young children go from house to house, saying that they (the children) have no power to change the adults’ behaviour and appealing to adults not to ‘make them eat shit’.

Key issues
Participants identified key emerging issues and themes and then used the SOSOTEC (Self-organising systems on the edge of chaos) method to collect information on these topics. The outputs can be found below:

Discussions also touched on cross-cutting issues such as children’s rights, risks and ethical concerns when working with children, gender and inclusion, sustainability, behaviours and attitudes and going to scale.

Field visit to urban CLTS
On the last day, participants also had an opportunity to visit the urban CLTS pilot in Mathare 10, Nairobi. Walking around different parts of Mathare gave participants a sense of what life and the sanitation situation are like in an urban slum. By talking to members of the Community Cleaning Services, Natural Leaders and community members from Mathare, participants learned about the progress that the urban CLTS project has made in mobilising communities, landlords, local government and other stakeholders to improve the situation.

Read participants’ reflections on the field visit

View photos of the workshop and the field visit to the urban CLTS pilot in Mathare 10, Nairobi

Date: 20 September 2010