Outcome of CLTS Discussions at Stockholm World Water Week

Outcome Statement • September 9, 2015
CLTS Seminar at 2015 Stockholm World Water Week

CLTS Seminar, 2015 Stockholm World Water Week
Photo by Ryan Rowe

At 2015 Stockholm World Water Week, The Water Institute at UNC working in partnership with Plan International USA shared high-level findings and implications of new operational research findings and implementation variations on community-led total sanitation (CLTS), a common behavior change approach intended to reduce open defecation, currently practiced by one billion people worldwide.

Participants reviewed new evidence for approaches that strengthen the capacity of local government representatives, schoolteachers, and community volunteers (i.e. Natural Leaders) to promote sanitation and hygiene. Involving local actors is an important strategy shift to achieve the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. However, moving the burden of responsibility for facilitating behavior change to these groups also implies a re-distribution of costs in ways that are not yet well understood.

CLTS can be a valuable part of national sanitation strategies, and should be integrated with supply-side support to enable household and community wide progress toward safe and sustainable sanitation. In certain contexts, the researchers found evidence that adaptations can improve open defecation free (ODF) outcomes, although quality and consistency of implementation and monitoring is paramount (see Example in Practice below). Governments must also be held accountable for supporting communities in accessing basic services.

This partnership between a research institution and a non-profit organization with a global practice footprint is yielding valuable lessons for improved sanitation policy and practice. Results of the Testing CLTS Approaches for Scalability project are already available from several countries and will continue to be shared through public and private events and online communications in coming months.

This outcome statement is also available on the CLTS Seminar event page at the 2015 Stockholm World Water Week website.


Example in Practice: CLTS Implementation in Cambodia

magglassIn our Learning Series work in Cambodia, we interviewed 29 stakeholders, reviewed documents, and developed a case study of Plan International’s CLTS implementation efforts. Among our findings, we determined that CLTS triggering approaches tended to be more lecture-based than participatory, which was inconsistent with national guidelines.

Respondents noted that newly-trained district officials were not able to participate regularly in CLTS activities, and provincial government staff were not always considered to be suitable as participatory facilitators. Therefore, while the decentralization of CLTS implementation is seen to be positive, there appears to be some variation in the quality and consistency of facilitation.

To strengthen CLTS facilitation, Plan International Cambodia can support the national government to improve training at local levels. This could include conducting refresher trainings as described in national guidelines. Plan International Cambodia can also consider evaluating facilitators against a standard checklist for facilitation effectiveness, and having high performers deliver the initial and refresher trainings.

These insights may be useful to other practitioners in considering how they can strengthen the quality of their own CLTS implementation.

Download the Cambodia Learning Brief (PDF, 804kb, 4 pp.)
Download the Cambodia Country Report (PDF, 802kb, 40 pp.)

Implementation lessons from seven countries (Cambodia, Haiti, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Niger, and Uganda) are available in our Learning Series Country Reports and Learning Briefs in our resource library.


Project Resources


The Testing CLTS Approaches for Scalability project involves The Water Institute at UNC working with Plan International USA to evaluate whether capacity strengthening of local actors influences CLTS outcomes. Our activities span 10 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. More information, project resources, and news are available at the project website.