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Robert Chambers - Research Associate

Participation, Inclusion and Social Change
T: +44 (0)1273 915723


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Professor Robert Chambers has a background in biology, history and public administration.

His current concerns and interests include professionalism, power, the personal dimension in development, participatory methodologies, epistemology, poverty, rural sanitation, stunting, teaching and learning with large numbers, and Community-Led Total Sanitation.

The Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Hub works in collaboration with practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and others in the development, sanitation and related communities, and in governments, international agencies, civil society, research institutes and other organisations.

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CLTS is an innovative methodology for mobilising communities to completely eliminate open defecation (OD).

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This is the front cover to the book, 'Can We Know Better?: Reflections for Development'.

Can We Know Better?: Reflections for Development

This book is intended for all who are committed to human wellbeing and who want to make our world fairer, safer and more fulfilling for everyone, especially those who are ‘last’. It argues that to do better we need to know better. It provides evidence that what we believe we know in international development is often distorted or unbalanced by errors, myths, biases and blind spots. More details

The image is a photo of the front cover of Frontiers Seven

Norms, Knowledge and Usage

Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights 7 (2016)

The partial or total non-use of toilets, with some or all in a household defecating in the open, is a growing concern. Although all households may have a toilet, communities cannot remain open defecation free unless they are always used by everyone. This is not just an issue of maintenance and accessibility but also of social norms, mind-sets, and cultural preferences. The problem is widespread but most evident in India. More details

Sustainability and CLTS: Taking Stock Front Cover by Sue Cavill, Robert Chambers and Naomi Vernon

Sustainability and CLTS: taking stock

Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights 4 (2015)

Sustainability is without doubt one of the most burning subject matters that subsumes many of the issues seen in Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and wider Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) practice. This issue of CLTS Frontiers series identifes priority areas for learning More details

This is the cover to IDS Working Paper 450, 'Reframing Undernutrition: Faecally-Transmitted Infections and the 5 As'.

Reframing Undernutrition: Faecally-Transmitted Infections and the 5 As

IDS Working Paper 450 (2014)

The dominant nutrition discourse concerns access to adequate food and its quality. It now includes food security, food rights and justice, governance and agriculture. More details

Thematic Expertise:
Agriculture; Nutrition; Participatory methodologies; Poverty; Water and Sanitation.

Related Programmes and Centres:

Geographic Expertise:
Central and South Asia; Sub Saharan Africa.