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‘Sceptics and Evangelists’: Insights on Scaling up Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in Southern and Eastern Africa

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This paper is based on the reflections of Samuel Musyoki who participated as an observer and co-facilitator at the CLTS training workshop held in Dar-es-Salaam by Plan International between the 11th and 18th February 2007. Samuel Musyoki is a trainer and facilitator in participatory approaches/methods to development who was coordinating a networking and capacity building programme on participatory action research and learning with the Participation Power and Social Change team at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the time of writing, before joining Plan Kenya as Strategic Programme Support).

The paper first provides the background and the context within which this CLTS training was undertaken. This includes a background description of the participants who attended; a justification as to why Plan Eastern and Southern Africa is interested in CLTS now; definition and background of CLTS and positioning of the author, his interests and those of his organisation (IDS). The main part of the paper draws on his experience and that of other participants that he interviewed based on the classroom and the fieldwork sessions of the training workshop.

The insights highlight aspects of CLTS that resonated with participants’ work, perceived strengths and weaknesses of CLTS and assumptions on which it is based. Suggestions on how some of the weaknesses and assumptions can be addressed are also made in this section. The last two sections of the paper capture participants’ views on rolling out CLTS and outline some of the institutional challenges they are likely to encounter and how these can be addressed and some propositions for a possible action research and learning agenda for IDS and other institutions interested in the development of CLTS.

Date: 17 December 2008