Options for scaling up CLTS: Natural Leaders and sanitation marketing

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The workshop today was a great experience, and a great opportunity to hear about the range of CLTS activities that are happening across Africa and the Plan International countries. Through a project kick-off meeting in Accra last week, and the Pan African CLTS Workshop this week, I’ve noticed that CLTS meetings and workshops tend to mirror the CLTS approach in many ways. They tend to be very interactive and participatory, with the exact focus shifting depending on the interests and expectations of the audience. Various topics that are brought up at the beginning are marked for “follow-up” throughout the rest of the workshop.

There were two subjects that came up which interest me greatly. The first relates to Natural Leaders. Natural Leaders seem to be universally recognized as one of the main (if not THE main) driving force behind CLTS success. Most people seem to agree that they must emerge from their own motivations and leadership. Despite this, many projects involve additional training, or some form of incentive (such as a bicycle) given to Natural Leaders. For this to occur, Natural Leaders must be selected or identified, based on some set of criteria. My question is how are Natural Leaders selected or identified, and how much does this differ between countries or individual projects.

The second subject that interests me is sanitation marketing. The CLTS approach involves not pushing any one solution or way forward on communities. Many example CLTS projects presented include a wide range of latrine solutions, which are often impossible to anticipate. Sanitation marketing seems to have some conflict with this notion of “community-led” as it can involve an outside suggestion of latrine options. These suggestions may cause community members to innovate less, or to strive for less appropriate latrine options. I’d be interested in hearing successful compared to less-successful sanitation marketing experiences, to learn what can make the marketing approach work, and why it doesn’t work in some instances.”

Jonny Crocker
Ph.D student, The Water Institute at UNC
Environmental Sciences and Engineering
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Date: 28 February 2012
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