CLTS research and practice: 5 areas for future work

Research Summary

September 26, 2014

Based on the conclusions of a systematic review of grey literature on CLTS, we are pleased to share a new research summary outlining the results of the review and five areas for future work for practitioners and researchers. 

> Download the Research Summary

Our research identified several areas for future work to advance CLTS research and practice:

  1. Develop a quality assessment methodology for grey literature publications.
  2. Strengthen practitioner capacity in monitoring, evaluation, and reporting.
  3. Standardize methods and indicators for monitoring and evaluation of CLTS.
  4. Perform theoretical and empirical research on CLTS and behavior change.
  5. Evaluate the role of local actors in CLTS outcomes.

The full version of the literature review (Venkataramanan, 2012) provides further background on these areas for future work and summarizes current challenges for CLTS and the role of ‘local actors’ – natural leaders, teachers, and local government staff – in influencing program outcomes.

> Download the full literature review


We reviewed 115 grey literature documents on CLTS and found no evaluations of the impact of local actors (natural leaders, schoolteachers, and local government staff) on CLTS outcomes.

However, many practitioners consider these actors as playing important roles in CLTS projects and examples from several countries and contexts were cited:

  • Natural leaders included women and children in Kenya, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh and India.
  • While teachers are normally involved in school-based interventions, community facilitation roles were seen only in literature from Pakistan, Zambia, and Ethiopia.
  • Local government staff included district health inspectors and sanitary engineers and were described as having roles in facilitating CLTS and monitoring progress to ODF.

Other Findings

The review also revealed a number of challenges and lessons which contributed to identifying the areas of future work:

  • First, the varying format of the grey literature and the lack of standardized indicators and M&E methods meant it was not possible to conduct meta-analysis on the reported results. (View our post on this topic!)
  • Second, structured follow-up after triggering activities was cited as helpful in eliminating open defecation in communities.
  • Third, coordinated efforts by stakeholders, guided by a national strategy, were seen as important to scaling up CLTS.
  • Finally, the grey literature documents reviewed contained no evaluations of the impact on CLTS outcomes of behavioral techniques or involvement of local actors.

Nearly all of the grey literature reflected experiences from Asia and Africa.

Literature Review map

Project researchers reviewed 115 grey literature documents on CLTS, nearly all of which reflected experiences in Africa and Asia. The bibliography can be found in the full version of the grey literature review. Click on the map for a larger view.

Related Resources

Project Resources