Working Paper

Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Across the Seas: Experiences from Africa with a Special Emphasis on Ethiopia

Published on 1 January 2009

2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to improved sanitation facilities and sanitation coverage is the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia where two thirds of the population lack access to improved sanitation. In recent years, Community-led total Sanitation (CLTS) has attracted significant attention. Unlike earlier top-down approaches which focused on toilet construction with upfront hardware subsidies, CLTS refrains from advocating toilet construction for individual households.

Instead, through processes of intensive facilitation and mobilisation and powerful emotions such as disgust and shame, the whole community is encouraged to analyse the problems associated with open defecation in order to build toilets and create ‘open defecation free’ (ODF) villages and communities. From its early beginnings in Bangladesh in 1999, CLTS has spread rapidly across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America and is now being implemented in over 20 countries with the makings of a development success story.


Image of Lyla Mehta

Lyla Mehta

Professorial Fellow

Image of Petra Bongartz

Petra Bongartz

Research Officer

Publication details

published by
Mehta, L. with Bongartz, P.
RiPPLE Working Paper, issue 12


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