Programme

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Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS)

start date
4 Sep 2006

Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is an innovative methodology for mobilising communities to completely eliminate open defecation (OD). Communities are facilitated to conduct their own appraisal and analysis of open defecation and take their own action to become open defecation free (ODF).

Merely providing toilets does not guarantee their use, nor result in improved sanitation and hygiene. Earlier approaches to sanitation prescribed high initial standards and offered subsidies as an incentive. But this often led to uneven adoption, problems with long-term sustainability and only partial use. It also created a culture of dependence on subsidies.

Open defecation and the cycle of fecal–oral contamination continued to spread disease. In contrast, CLTS focuses on the behavioural change needed to ensure real and sustainable improvements – investing in community mobilisation instead of hardware, and shifting the focus from toilet construction for individual households to the creation of ‘open defecation-free’ villages.

By raising awareness that as long as even a minority continues to defecate in the open everyone is at risk of disease, CLTS triggers the community’s desire for change, propels them into action and encourages innovation, mutual support and appropriate local solutions, thus leading to greater ownership and sustainability.

IDS has been working on the research, learning and networking aspects of CLTS for close to a decade. During this time, CLTS has become an international movement. Together with partners from around the world we support the scaling up of CLTS with quality and in a sustainable and inclusive manner. The aim is to contribute to the dignity, health and wellbeing of children, women and men in the developing world who currently suffer the consequences of inadequate or no sanitation and poor hygiene.

People

Image of Jamie Myers
Jamie Myers

Research Officer

Image of Jeremy Allouche
Jeremy Allouche

Research Fellow

Image of Kamal Kar
Kamal Kar

Honorary Associate

Image of Naomi Vernon
Naomi Vernon

Programme Officer for Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Knowledge Hub

Image of Petra Bongartz
Petra Bongartz

Research Officer

Image of Robert Chambers
Robert Chambers

Research Associate

Image of Stacey Townsend
Stacey Townsend

Programme Officer

Projects

Project

Strengthening and Broadening Community-Led Total Sanitation at Scale

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.

Recent work

Opinion

Ways forward for rural sanitation in Africa

The CLTS Knowledge Hub at IDS has had a busy year! We have hosted and facilitated two regional rural sanitation workshops in Africa. The first held in Tanzania brought together sanitation experts from eight countries across East and Southern Africa, the second in Senegal brought together those...

22 October 2018

Impact Story

Strengthening learning and changing behaviour for better rural sanitation

Millions of people in the developing world currently suffer the consequences of inadequate or no sanitation and poor hygiene. It’s a situation targeted by one of the Sustainable Development Goals, and is particularly prevalent in India – making it a focus for IDS’s Community-Led Total...

1 August 2018

Publication

Supporting the Poorest and Most Vulnerable in CLTS Programmes

CLTS Knowledge Hub Learning Paper

This Learning Paper discusses ways the poorest and most vulnerable can be supported both through strengthening the CLTS process and the introduction of support mechanisms. It focuses on strengthening the CLTS process, identifying and targeting people for support, the sequencing of support...

1 September 2017

Publication

Equality and Non-Discrimination (EQND) in Sanitation Programmes at Scale (Part 1 of 2)

Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights 10, Part 1

A well-facilitated Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programme that pro-actively considers and involves people who might be disadvantaged has been shown to have many benefits. This issue of Frontiers of CLTS looks at who should be considered potentially disadvantaged, how they can...

1 August 2017