Action Learning, Networking and Support for Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS)

This project supports the acceleration, spread and quality enhancement of community-led total sanitation, enabling rural people to take action to end open defecation and improve the health and wellbeing of all, especially of those children, women and men who live in poverty.

Our work comprises of three main types of activities networking and dissemination; workshops for sharing, reflection, learning and planning; and expanding and improving the CLTS website. The IDS project on CLTS acts as a global hub for CLTS, at the same time encouraging and supporting regional, country and organizational initiatives which evolve independently and which may in the future take over.

Networking and dissemination activities

This involves actively engaging with the network of CLTS practitioners around the world and keeping in touch and up-to-date with developments. We engage continuously with the growing number of contacts through a bimonthly newsletter and individual communications. We aim to link practitioners and policy-makers internationally, pro-actively supporting the international South-South exchange of experience and of good trainers. We seek to collect, review, learn from, synthesize and spread experience gained with practical approaches and policies in diverse conditions, organizations, and countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and elsewhere.

Workshops for sharing, reflection, learning and planning

We convene and co-convene regional and other workshops of practitioners, policy-makers and donors to share experience and insights, to brainstorm and to plan, focusing on practical and policy lessons learnt concerning taking CLTS to scale with quality. We provide opportunities for practitioners to share methods and lessons, to reflect, learn and write, and disseminate the outputs.  Workshops usually exploit the opportunities provided by international conferences when people are coming together anyway.

CLTS website

The CLTS website aims to be the global hub for CLTS, connecting the network of practitioners, communities, NGOs, agencies, researchers, governments, donors and others involved or interested in CLTS. The site contains practical information about the approach, information on CLTS in different countries, research papers, relevant news and events and many other useful materials. It intends to serve as an up-to-date virtual resource centre and is a space for sharing and learning on CLTS across organisations, countries and sectors. The site reflects the rich, varied and dynamic nature of the approach and hopes to encourage debate around key aspects of CLTS in order to improve policy and practice.

Project details

start date
25 November 2009
end date
31 December 2010


About this project

Programmes and centres
The Sanitation Learning Hub

Recent work


Researchers express dismay at prize awarded to Narendra Modi

An international group of researchers, led by IDS Professorial Fellow Professor Lyla Mehta have expressed their dismay that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being honoured with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Goalkeepers Global Goals award, in recognition of the sanitation...

26 September 2019


World Toilet Day: timely reminder of the global sanitation crisis

World Toilet Day aims raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis, which affecting 2.4 billion people around the world. Although commitments clean water and sanitation are enshrined in Sustainable Development Goal 6, the topic often neglected and shrouded in taboos.

18 November 2016


Handbook on Community-Led Total Sanitation

The CLTS approach originates from Kamal Kar's evaluation of WaterAid Bangladesh and their local partner organisation - VERC's (Village Education Resource Centre is a local NGO) traditional water and sanitation programme and his subsequent work in Bangladesh in late 1999 and into 2000.

1 January 2009