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Empowering Communities to Improve Sanitation

In just three years, CLTS efforts helped over 200 villages in Dinajpur District of Bangladesh eliminate open defecation and the entire population now has access to hygienic latrines.
In just three years, CLTS efforts helped over 200 villages in Dinajpur District of Bangladesh eliminate open defecation and the entire population now has access to hygienic latrines.

Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is a process that raises awareness and empowers all actors of rural communities to avoid outdoor defecation and to promote construction and use of latrines with their own resources.

CLTS is a key component of Plan’s global effort to apply state-of-the-art sanitation principles and is currently being adopted in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

 

In this global effort, Plan’s global CLTS handbook (published in 2008) is being used as resource and guide for field practitioners and policy-makers alike worldwide. This handbook, authored by Dr. Kamal Kar and Dr. Robert Chambers of the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), was co-financed by DfID and Plan.

In Cambodia, beginning in 2005, we've worked on expanding CLTS to nine provinces and 258 villages where a total of 134 villages have attained Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. In addition to leading to a substantial increase in the number of latrines, the consistent use of CLTS has helped change behaviors among rural families. These changes are evident in use of latrines at home and in public places by adults and by children.

 

In Bangladesh, we're working to promote CLTS at the national and regional levels. So far, CLTS promotion efforts have reached over 1.3 million people (over 550,000 children) who are now entirely ODF.

In April 2009, our program in Kenya was designated as one of Plan’s hubs to expand CLTS worldwide. The initiative will entail the establishment of a CLTS unit with training, research and documentation capacities.

Apart from scaling up, Plan is trying innovative approaches, such as implementing CLTS in urban areas (e.g. Bangladesh), and linking increased demand from communities with local private providers of water and sanitation hardware (e.g. sanitation marketing) or with government programs funding.