Looking beyond CLTS

CLTS demonstrates a succesful mobilisation strategy. A strategy that works spectacularly with organisations that have a good rapport with communities they can talk to, indeed in some cases, talk down to. There is no doubting the ‘power’ of ‘shaming’ and it has been shown to work in various parts of the world.

However, after this great kick start, CLTS falls short of expectations. It fails to answer these critical questions of
* •ensuring 100% coverage
* –exclusion – this is inevitable if the programme is dependent on the largesse of the rich to cover the poorest
* •sustaining behaviour change; ensuring continuous usage of toilets?
* •how will these toilets be cleaned? who will clean them? (page 48 of the CLTS handbook even suggests that ‘women will take over latrines as soon as constructed; and train children to use them hygienically’)
* scaling up CLTS and ensuring that good quality toilets are constructed

These problems have been identified by the IDS research programme and there is ongoing work in this area towards exploring approaches that alleviate these concerns.

My primary concern is the staunch opposition by CLTS to subsidies for sanitation. Waste disposal is a public good and there is nothing wrong, by any means, if the state supports sanitation programmes. Combining the mobilisation efforts of CLTS with state subsidies will enable construction of durable toilets that communities can be proud of.

An NGO in Orissa, India, Gram Vikas has been in the field of water and sanitation for the last 16 years. Not only does the organisation focus on high quality sanitation facilities with 24-hour piped water supply, its community mobilisation methods have also been extremely succesful. Through a slew of institutional mechanisms at the village-level, Gram Vikas has ensured that people take ownership of the sanitation programme and are committed to using and maintaining the facilites for years to come.

In the Gram Vikas model, an interesting addition is the bathing room along with the toilets. This was in response to demands from rural women in Orissa about wanting a place to wash in private. At present, Gram Vikas has reached out to over 30,000 families in Orissa with their innovative sanitation and water supply programme.

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