Foreign Policy recognises IDS Partner Kamal Kar as top global thinker

10 December 2010

Foreign Policy magazine Top 100 global thinkers of 2010

IDS professor Robert Chambers congratulates Associate and partner Kamal Kar's Foreign Policy nomination as top global influence.

Dr Kamal Kar has been named by Foreign Policy as 84th of the 100 top global thinkers, in his case 'for doing the world's dirty work'. This is a cause for celebration. It is brilliant that his work has received this recognition. Kamal is an old friend of IDS. Since the mid 1990s he has frequently stayed as a visitor in IDS. In early 2000 in Bangladesh, together with the NGO VERC, he innovated Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), a revolutionary participatory approach to rural sanitation in which people are facilitated to appraise and analyse their practices of shitting (the crude word is always used) and take action to become ODF (Open Defecation Free). In 2003, he was invited to IDS to write this up. 

The resulting Working Paper 184 Subsidy or Self-Respect? Community Led Total Sanitation had more downloads than any previous WP and its printed version was very widely disseminated and influential with 16,000 downloads in the first few months.

In the latter 2000s he was associated with the IDS project on CLTS led by Lyla Mehta. Since 2009 he has been a consultant to the on-going IDS project  Networking, Action Learning and Support for Community-Led Total Sanitation and has just taken part in IDS co-convened international sharing and learning workshops in Lusaka and Bamako. He has personally introduced CLTS into many countries. That there may now be as many as 10 million people living in ODF communities in well over 30 countries as a result of the spread of CLTS owes a huge amount to his unflagging energy and enthusiasm.