Greetings and Welcome!

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April 2, 2014

It is with much excitement that Plan International USA and the University of North Carolina launch this website to share lessons from the ‘Testing CLTS Approaches to Scalability’ project, which aims to to evaluate whether an increased role for local actors will improve CLTS effectiveness while also making it more scalable. The website will include regular knowledge updates, a resource library to download publications, and project knowledge organized by research themes.

CLTS is an acronym for Community-Led Total Sanitation – a public health intervention practiced in over 50 countries worldwide where many communities do not have access to even the most basic of toilets. (Learn more about CLTS.)

Understanding What Works

But despite the widespread practice of CLTS, there has been little evidence of good quality showing that CLTS improves health, is sustainable, or is cost-effective compared with other sanitation solutions (Venkataramanan, 2012). With stronger evidence, both practitioners and policy-makers could make better decisions about how to allocate resources and where and how to promote CLTS.

This project was formed with the aim of improving knowledge of what works. Researchers from UNC are working with expert practitioners from Plan to test and understand different approaches to CLTS, evaluate their effectiveness, and share the lessons learned.

Focus on Local Actors

The success of mobilizing communities to practice CLTS appears to depend to a great extent on the skills of local facilitators and the support provided by community members and local government. In order to better understand the essential aspects of this process and how it could be replicated elsewhere, researchers outlined several thematic questions of interest:

With these questions in mind, the project team is working closely with local actors such as schoolteachers, local government officials and natural leaders to understand how they contribute to the success of CLTS.

Sharing Knowledge

In coming weeks, we will start by publishing a series of blog posts taking a closer look at issues spanned by our four thematic research questions, starting with “In what context do local actors work?“. We also encourage readers to think about submitting a blog post to share their experiences in the field.

You can subscribe to be notified of new knowledge updates.


Venkataramanan, Vidya. 2012. “Systematic Literature Review (Grey Literature).” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.