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Plan Ethiopia

Published on: 01/05/2013

In Ethiopia, ‘when you hear CLTSH, you think Plan and when you hear Plan, you think CLTSH’. We spoke with Atnafe Beyene, the national Community-Led Total Sanitation and Hygiene (CLTSH) coordinator at Plan Ethiopia. 

Plan Ethiopia at a glance

Plan is an international, child-centred development organisation with no religious, political or governmental affiliations. Plan, unlike many other organisations, have long term commitments in the areas they work. This is related to the child sponsorship model: children are supported until graduation from secondary school. Whatever Plan do, children and the community are at heart of it.

Key activities: CLTSH is the focus in WASH for PLAN Ethiopia, withsome 950,000 community members reached through this behaviour change work to eliminate open defecation. There is an integral handwashing and safe water storage component in Ethiopia and hence its CLTSH rather than CLTS as in other countries. 

Where Plan work:  Plan Ethiopia work in over 100 rural woredas in SNNPR, Oromia, Amhara and more recently in Gambella. Half of these woredas are target areas of the UNICEF/NUWI program where Plan Ethiopia’s role is sanitation and hygiene only. Urban areas are next on the radar for Plan Ethiopia. 

Find out more:

Contact: Atnafe Beyene is the person for most of your questions via +251911123144 or email:

Interview with Atnafe Beyene

Plan Ethiopia have strong Dutch links. Back in 2004, it was Dutch Ministry funded (and IRC supported) action research by Plan that helped pave the way for CLTSH adoption at federal level, and that research opened the door to more Dutch funding from Plan Netherlands for a five year CLTSH implementation program (in eight African countries). Now Plan is supporting the Dutch (and Canadian) funded NUWI project being implemented by UNICEF in CLTSH.

Recently Plan published a study on the sustainability of ODF (Open Defecation Free status). The study showed that some open defecation free villages are falling back. Plan Ethiopia are taking up the challenge in this otherwise disappointing finding. They are exploring ways to innovate and do better. With the frontline Health Extension Workers often too busy, Plan Ethiopia are testing whether teachers trained in the CLTSH approach could also be effective change-makers. The approach is known as Community/School-Led Total Sanitation. Moreover, sanitation at schools is often failing and Plan Ethiopia are piloting an approach where students take the lead.

Plan Ethiopia envisage doing more work now in urban areas too. Plan recently provided training to urban health extension workers on CLTSH for urban areas for the Resource Oriented Sanitation Services in Adama (ROSSA) project. Atnafe described the urban sanitation situation as “maybe worse than rural areas, with these flying toilets thrown on roof tops or on the street where donkey carts and Bajaj’s do their part to spread disease throughout the city.”