About CLTS

27/05/2011

The Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach 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 (OD) and take their own action to become ODF (open defecation free).

At the heart of CLTS lies the recognition that 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.

CLTS was pioneered by Kamal Kar (a development consultant from India) together with VERC (Village Education Resource Centre), a partner of WaterAid Bangladesh, in 2000 in Mosmoil, a village in the Rajshahi district of Bangladesh, whilst evaluating a traditionally subsidised sanitation programme. Kar, who had years of experience in participatory approaches in a range of development projects, succeeded in persuading the local NGO to stop top-down toilet construction through subsidy. He advocated change in institutional attitude and the need to draw on intense local mobilisation and facilitation to enable villagers to analyse their sanitation and waste situation and bring about collective decision-making to stop open defecation.


About Unruly Politics

20/05/2011

Unruly Politics is a new research programme being developed by the IDS Participation, Power and Social Change Team. The programme seeks to develop a “seeing like a citizen” approach to understanding citizen engagement beyond the “visible spectrum” of governance and participation as conventionally defined in development policy and practice. Its research agenda focuses on why and how citizens act politically in ways that are often described as unruly, illegitimate and irrational.

This programme draws on team members’ previous work in Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Mozambique and the UK. The team is currently developing an “Unruly Politics Manifesto” that will be available on this page shortly, along with other material on this new research programme.