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Published on: 13/08/2013

The results below use the three phases of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach – pre-triggering, triggering and post-triggering.

Pre-triggering phase:

  • Sierra Leone

Challenge: Lack of community commitment

Opportunity: The use of chiefdom exchange visits by natural leaders to motivate innovation in CLTS plans and methodologies. Read the one-pager on the CLTS blog.

  • Zambia

Challenge: Difficulty of involving government officials

Opportunity: The engagement and capacity building of government officials. Political engagement, particularly at the local level, is vital for inspiring communities to own sanitation programming. A three tier approach in Zambia's urban areas involved chiefs, extension staff and civic leaders including natural leaders. Read more in the one-pager on the CLTS blog.

  • Uganda

Challenge: Lack of clear roles between programme stakeholders

Opportunity: Meetings are held with government/local government to determine specific roles. Capacity building of relevant government officials in CLTS processes is also essential to encourage ownership, especially in sanitation marketing. This one-pager is available on the CLTS blog.

Triggering phase:

  • Kenya

Challenge: Finding key stakeholders to promote the programme

Opportunity: Identifying champions, especially females who understand the philosophy behind CLTS and are able to monitor and support frontline staff. A one-pager on the networking meetings of natural leaders is available online.

  • Ethiopia

Challenge: Lack of institutional support

Opportunity: Creating government support for CLTS to stimulate community interest. Plan Ethiopia is supporting the government initiative.

Challenge: Persuading community members to take CLTS seriously during the triggering phase

Opportunity: Advocating CLTS through supporters of the programme in churches and mosques who have declared that devout Christians and Muslims do not defecate in the open. Encourage children to persuade their families to build latrines. This video gives an impression of awareness raising activities in local communities.

Post-triggering phase:

  • Uganda

Challenge: Lack of networks between community members and government officials

Opportunity: Creating a forum for collaboration and sharing lessons learnt. The CLTS task force found in most of the countries have strong government leadership and support from UNICEF, providing a forum for CLTS development. Most agencies working on sanitation issues meet regularly to share and coordinate monitoring work. Organisations not yet implementing community-led sanitation programming are also invited to attend. This publication highlights good practices around CLTS in Uganda.

  • Ethiopia

Challenge: Inadequate programme monitoring

Opportunity: Teachers record details weekly on the status of CLTS in each village household and share this with the health extension worker. The health worker reports progress monthly to relevant government officials. This continues until every household is ODF – free of open defecation. The system is also maintained after ODF. More experiences in various countries on monitoring sanitation and hygiene services can be found in the IRC 2013 symposium papers here.

  • Sierra Leone

Challenge: Continuing sustainable CLTS

Opportunity: Motivate emerging literate natural leaders, regularly monitoring their performances. Establish a sanitation committee after ODF achievement and encourage regular cleaning and maintenance of all latrines for sustainability purposes. They suggest the use of ashes when soap is finished. Promote effective monitoring by creating partners and increasing awareness of sanitation laws. There is a one-pager on experiences and tips on the CLTS blog.

  • Uganda

Build a quality assurance team of community residents/ volunteers who monitor community plans developed during triggering and ODF progress. The team uses checklists for the post trigger phase.


Monitoring and documentation are integral to the Pan-Africa programme and Zambia has these solutions to guarantee both measures are effective:

Training village sanitation action groups so they win support from district teams for their work:
Establish and train district joint monitoring programme teams in post-triggering pointers. This strengthens legal enforcement aspects of CLTS and also helps in ODF certifications. They simultaneously work with the field based environmental health technologists who record CLTS work at rural health centres.
Creating 3rd party certification to ensure quality assurance issues. Budget for post ODF after it has been in place for about two years. Introduce sanitation marketing immediately when CLTS work starts.

Stakeholder reports in the Pan-African programme show CLTS is effective in highlighting the dangers of open defecation. The programme contributes to improved coverage in social behaviour on sanitation matters. Ensuring it continues to work is essential.

These countries have clearly demonstrated how they dealt successfully with specifics in each phase of the CLTS programme. Their examples do not undermine some of the inherent challenges in CLTS but show how they have not been defeated by the challenges and instead used them as opportunities for progress.

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