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Systematic and reliable monitoring is a prerequisite for successful sanitation and hygiene programming. 

Systematic and reliable monitoring is a prerequisite for successful sanitation and hygiene programming. How progress is monitored, and who does the monitoring are both important factors which influence the success of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and the ability to declare entire areas as ‘open defecation free’ (ODF). CLTS faces major challenges when it comes to monitoring—particularly around systems for defining, verifying, and validating areas as ODF. Systems are required for checking both access and use of sanitation services. Hygiene monitoring is also confronted by major complexities, as ensuring reliable data on hygiene behaviour is a notoriously complicated and costly endeavour. The task requires identifying appropriate (proxy) indicators that can feasibly be monitored over time and at scale.

There are also major challenges with monitoring for equity. Even though many programmes and governments commit to targeting the entire community when it comes to monitoring sanitation and hygiene services, the reality is that certain minority groups are left out or lag behind—i.e. in urban settings, including informal settlements, where those not serviced are not monitored. The lack of information on all users signifies the need for creating monitoring systems that target all potential end-users and their behaviours.

Monitoring sanitation and hygiene services needs to be aligned between community, project/local level monitoring systems, and national systems for data-compilation. Different levels need to work together in order to ensure harmonisation and to facilitate planning and budget allocations. Topic 5 of the symposium will deal with monitoring issues faced by the hygiene and sanitation sub-sector. Case studies and larger multi-country analytical perspectives will be discussed and challenged in order to gain understanding of what works and where we are in terms of appropriately aligning systematic sanitation and monitoring approaches.

Continue to read about topic 6 or return to the IRC symposium 2013 pages here.

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