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Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Worldwide: Testing Community-led Total Sanitation Approaches for Scalability

Plan International USA’s Testing CLTS Approaches for Scalability research project aims to advance rural sanitation efforts in Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, and worldwide by improving the cost-effectiveness and scalability of the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach through increased engagement of local actors.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Project Start Date
October 2011
Project End Date
September 2015
Technical Areas Covered
Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)

This goal will be achieved by collecting, critically evaluating, and disseminating practical lessons learned about overcoming common challenges to implementing CLTS at scale, based on applied research from pilot interventions in Kenya, Ghana, and Ethiopia that are embedded in broader knowledge generation activities. In line with the CLTS approach, the proposed project applies community-led solutions to address both demand for and supply of sanitation, to help communities eliminate open defecation and maintain and improve sanitation status over time.

The proposed project will be led by Plan with key support from the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and local implementing partners.

The project goal will be achieved through three integrated objectives:

  • Plan and UNC are implementing applied research pilot projects that test solutions to locally-relevant global CLTS scaling challenges in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Kenya. Plan has implemented CLTS for several years in each of these countries; based on this knowledge and analysis of existing barriers to implementation at scale, the pilots were designed to address three strategic country-specific challenges. The proposed project applies experimental research standards and deliberate project design guidelines to evaluate, document, and disseminate its experiences and innovations by engaging different local actors (teachers in Ethiopia, district level managers in Kenya, and natural leaders in Ghana).
  • The collection of knowledge, tools, and lessons learned is a central activity of the project, and is conducted with the extensive support of researchers at UNC. This process includes the systematic capture and evaluation of results from the pilot interventions, supplemented by innovations and expertise from Plan’s global CLTS experience through rapid evaluations of CLTS approaches in nine countries. The systematic literature review completed in 2012 to evaluate the existing CLTS grey literature is available through the project website
  • In addition to the project website, Plan will disseminate the knowledge collected and the results of the research pilots to internal and external practitioners and researchers in the sanitation sector through publication of research pilot results, exchange visits among pilot countries, and publication of knowledge collected (leading practices, methods, tools, case studies, etc.) through both traditional and online resources
  • Regional learning events in Asia and Africa brought together internal and external experts to speak about CLTS, to capture broader insights to the project’s hypotheses about barriers to scaling up CLTS, and to create opportunities for international exchange of experiences. Final project learning will be shared through a global learning event to impart practical lessons to the sanitation sector.

For additional information, please visit the project website.

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