What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

  • muench
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What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

Lukas Ulrich and I have started a little discussion about urban CLTS when we were discussing whether this approach should be included in the factsheet of working group 6 (access the factsheet here: www.susana.org/lang-en/library?view=ccbktypeitem&type=2&id=102 (careful, this is not the very latest version, as it is currently being modified further))

Here are Lukas points on this matter:
++++++++++++++++++

CLTS is an approach which is neither recommended for nor validated in urban areas. In cases where it had a certain impact in urban areas, it cannot really be called CLTS any more.
In the following just a few reasons why CLTS is not considered suitable for urban areas (should be discussed in a different place in this forum):
- Heterogeneous and transient communities
- System perspective and integral approach needed. Building latrines alone is not enough, full service chain considerations are needed.
- Infrastructure costs, the users can't be expected to pay for everything without external support
- External support is also needed knowledge-wise
- Appropriate involvement of all stakeholders is needed and often a complex task
- Creating disgust might worsen social exclusion of emptying workers etc.

UCLTS is therefore not a suitable approach for urban sanitation planning. Just mentioning it in the factsheet without explanation would pretend the opposite, spread a wrong message and cause confusion.

Best,
Lukas

++++++++++++++++++++

I am wondering what the reaction of someone would be who has perhaps worked in urban CLTS in Africa?
Thanks for sharing, and thanks for opening the debate, Lukas.

Regards,
Elisabeth

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  • JKMakowka
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Re: What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

While I am far from an expert on this topic, I would say that my personal experience with CLTS in more rural settings are already mixed and extrapolating from that I have to agree with Lukas in regards to urban CLTS.

CLTS isn't the silver bullet to solve every issue, and while it works great in some cases, it doesn't or can make it even worse in others.

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  • muench
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Re: What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

I have alerted some CLTS experts, e.g. Sammy Musyoki from Plan International, based in Kenya, to this discussion and here is what he wrote (thank you Sammy, for your fast and detailed response):
++++++++++++++

From: Samuel Musyoki
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 11:07 PM
To: Muench, Elisabeth von GIZ
Cc: Petra Bongartz; Robert Chambers
Subject: RE: urban CLTS?

Dear Elisabeth,

I have read through the post by Lucas. For almost 2 years now we have been piloting CLTS in Urban Informal settlements in Nairobi. Even before we started we were aware that the urban context is quite different from the rural areas where CLTS has been predominantly used. The term we chose to use for this is Urban CLTS and at one stage after trying it out I suggested in Urban areas we better call it Citizen Led Total Sanitation. This is because it is about galvanizing citizen action to engage with duty bearers or institutions who had failed to meet their obligations to ensure that citizens enjoyed their right to live in a clean environment. The fact about communities being heterogeneous is all well known by participatory development practitioners. The “myth of community”- We understood from the beginning that in urban areas people are busy and transient –however this is not to say they are not organized to address daily challenges. In Kenya we have had informal settlement engaged in struggles to oppose forced evictions and there has been big success with this. UCLTS builds on that history to make ODF and poor sanitation a priority agenda for the residents in the affected areas to engage with the mandate institutions and the landlords.

I see a misconception that CLTS is about building toilets-that is off the mark. CLTS in this case is about mobilizing and galvanizing for collective action –led by the communities to better their sanitation. The action could be a beginning of an engagement processes that will result to immediate, mid-term and long-term solution to the sanitation situation. UCLTS does not close out what Lucas refers to as systems perspective and integrated approach-however once the communities are triggered and the lead in this process then the results are owned locally and can be sustained in the long-term. Externally driven integrated approaches seem to lack ownership and may not be sustained.

Regarding infrastructure costs –the users in urban areas have no problem paying for sanitation services-however UCLTS does not concern itself with the hardware solutions rather it triggers the residents to start asking the right questions to the right people. We have seen how agitated they get when they realize they are paying rent for facilities which do not meet the standards required by the tenancy laws. This way they have engaged their landlords and demanded that they provide them with sanitation facilities. We have had targeted triggering sessions for landlords who at the end of the session have decided to convert some of their units to sanitation facilities. We have seen the provincial administration decide that no landlord will rent out facilities in their areas of administration which do not have sanitation facilities. At no point in the UCLTS sanitation did we expect that after the triggering communities will be digging pits and constructing simple structures. The city bylaws do not allow it. Communities have even gone ahead and demolished some facilities that were considered to be polluting the environment and demanded that people engaged in commercial latrine business come up with environmental friendly sanitation solutions. Part of the UCLTS work is linking them with other players including private sector but at no point do we attempt to play the role of providing technical solutions. There are already ECOSAN type facilities e.g, the Umande biogas digester toilet blocks which are being run by groups who saw a business opportunity. We link them with financing opportunities as such already exist with the micro-finance institutions and the Water Service Trust Fund.

The points on external support in-terms of knowledge is a key activity post-triggering. We have organized and convened round-table meetings with between the communities and key stakeholders in urban sanitation. So CLTS does not rule out such engagements. I think again there is a case of limited understanding of CLTS as a one off activity that stops at triggering-that to us will amount to bad practice that should be discouraged at all cost. We have facilitated and seen the communities take up engagement processes beyond the initial roundtable meetings we organized. It is important to note that UCLTS was demand driven in the past place. We are now going to a new level where the City Council of Nairobi after seeing what is happening in Mathare has requested for training for their staff and they would like to scale it up in more wards in Nairobi. A simple question from us was whether they had the structures in place to manage the process post triggering. The answer was the structures are in place and they are ready to learn what else they may need to do to respond to the demand and pressure that will come with the triggering.

Disgust has not resulted to any exclusion. Shit and shit emptying in urban informal settlements is real business. The group that approached us to introduce CLTS in Mathare was a social enterprise of young people Community Cleaning Services who earn a good living from unblocking and cleaning toilets. They lover their job and they have become natural leaders and excellent UCLTS facilitators in their communities. I urge you read my blog www.communityledtotalsanitation.org/reso...are-10-nairobi-kenya as it totality as all the issues raised here are addressed very well.

Regards

Sammy

++++++++++++

And I also heard back from Kamal Kar:

Dear Elisabeth,
I am forwarding your mail to my friends and colleagues in IDS and in India who are deeply involved in Urban CLTS and requesting them to respond.
I am sure you will receive very useful response from them which you could put in your website in consultation with them.
I will try to write a response whenever I get some time. I am in Djibouti for a misssion of UNICEF and the Government of Djibouti.
All the best,
Kamal

Dear Sammy, Nishit, Nipun and Shantanu,
Greetings from Djibouti,
Hope you had a good discussion in the Urban CLTS workshop in Nanded. I think you will respond to Elisabeth's request on the following mail.
Will write to you seperately.
All the best,
Kamal

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  • JKMakowka
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Re: What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

Very interesting stuff from Samuel Musyoki... however it seems to boil down on how broad your definition of "CLTS" is.
E.g. if I look at the standard CLTS handbooks I can find little of what he described in there, and much of his work could also be called PHAST or what ever bottom up participatory approach term you prefer currently.

So yes, I guess you can call it UCLTS or something like that... but maybe a different term for it (mentioning that is is sometimes also done under the UCLTS lable) would be less confusing for those familar only with the standard rural CLTS approach.

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Re: What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

I received some more by e-mail, this time from Nipun Vinayak in India.

See attached Word document. As a teaser, I copy here the first and last paragraph from the Word document:


++++++++++++

NANDED SANITATION

Dr. Nipun Vinayak
Municipal Commissioner, NWCMC, Nanded
March 6, 2012

The challenge of Sanitation has been discussed, debated and tried to be addressed more in the rural areas. I do not know how much of that is due to the problem being more severe in rural areas and how much due to other factors – such as romanticism with rural development. In rural areas, space is not really a constraint, and with relatively less plastic use, the garbage is not that unsightly. It was only the shit and the scene of people sitting on the approach roads to a village, which were now cement ones, that sent a shock ! In the city, there are no such leisure open spaces that can be out of sight (out of mind) for people. There are though the areas- slums, areas adjoining Railways, dumping grounds, open plots, which are not so obvious to the outsiders (or chosen to be ignored)¬ ¬– but very obvious to the residents there. The sanitation issues in the city, except the space aspect, differs from the rural areas in few more aspects- first, it is more comprehensive and does not limit to the open daefecation. It touches solid waste management. It is also more ‘complex’ in the sense that it is more closely knit with the hardware- the sewage system, the supply chain for garbage collection etc. Although there may be options reducing the dependence on the extrinsic professional service, such as a community digging its own pit and making compost, they have not been tried and tested enough. For waste water management, it is even more difficult. In a city, people would expect services to a much greater level than a rural area. Despite attempts at professionalizing service delivery, gaps remain.

[...]

We have been learning sanitation by doing it for about a year now. In one year, a total of 426 communities have been ‘triggered’. Such communities have initiated good sanitation practices. However, within each such community the practice may not have spread to the entire population, and that is the activity the natural leaders in these communities have to continue for a while with support from NWCMC, KL and FV. 188 communities have become ODF, however this has yet to be evaluated externally. 321 communities have formed Nigrani (Monitoring) committees to monitor service delivery by NWCMC. 62 communities have dug pits and begun to make compost out of their ‘wet’ waste. The process has begun. There is a long way to go!



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Re: What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

Dear JKMakowka

CLTS was developed using Kamal´s experience in PHAST. But it is definately not PHAST.
please have a look here www.wsscc.org/node/4072?rck=b6b2de39debc1a19e79db256b3b7be90

JKMakowka wrote: Very interesting stuff from Samuel Musyoki... however it seems to boil down on how broad your definition of "CLTS" is.
E.g. if I look at the standard CLTS handbooks I can find little of what he described in there, and much of his work could also be called PHAST or what ever bottom up participatory approach term you prefer currently.


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Re: What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

Sure, maybe I wrote that a little bit unclear.
I was referring to the work outlined in the report by Mr. Musyoki. He calls it urban CLTS but the actual work he describes could also roughly fall under the PHAST label and is rather different from what is commonly referred to as CLTS (for rural areas).

Besides this... has there been a consensus on this by the Susana team?

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Re: What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

to contribute to the discussion, there is a thinkpiece written by Kamal Kar and Pippa Scott in the WSSCC Global Forum Final Report www.wsscc.org/sites/default/files/public..._report_en_light.pdf (page 30 +31)
with the title "Does Urban CLTS misinterpret the ”community”?
They both state that UCLTS has to look beyond the household/community, and engage even stronger with government and service provider, which is consistent with wider
urban sanitation thinking.

I dont agree with Lukas.
the same mechanism of rising shame and disgust can work in urban setting. CLTS/ UCLTS makes communities realize that they live in a real SHIT situation, and triggers their demand and community action.
I agree that from this point onwards it becomes more complex in urban setting, and it demands carefull faciliation and consideration of the local situation in terms of financing/service levels/etc... to channel the triggering idea into action. And it needs even more the full support by government.

of course, with every methodology , beeing PHAST, (U)CLTS , CLUES, etc... it strongly depends on applying/ adpating it into the right context and more importantly having good facilitation. But i am confident that with these 2 encouraging examples (Mathare and Nanded) more programmes will give it a go!

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  • ajay
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Re: What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

well friends, CLTS experiences are encouraging world over and proving to be an efficient tool for promoting awareness about health and hygiene. The approach has been widely acclaimed for the success and replicated by various agencies as such. However, based on my experiences in Gujarat Inida, my observations are as under.
1. CLTS works better in small area and focussed concentration with community. A regular, follow up and motivation requires for longer period of time to achieve better results.
2. CLTS can create good awareness but awareness do not automatically means zero open defecation.
3. The chances of slippage after CLTS is higher, in absence of any legal or institutional framework at village level.
4. CLTS failed to provide different options for toilet design and focus more one model only.
5. CLTS become a concept of training, workshops and seminars, but real translation in the filed is limited.
6. CLTS, which is replicated by large government organisation like TSC department, the concept get diluted to lager extent.
7. The concept of CLTS requires lager institutional and administrative reforms to accommodate participatory process of CLTS. Somehow, more attention is a paid to concept and not basic requirements of human capacity building. There is a need to give serious thoughts for creating replicable model for large sector like TSC,
Hope, above observations will erupt new debates within professionals,
Regards,
Ajay ciciliya -
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  • laurabrightdavies
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Re: What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

Dear SuSanA friends,

To continue this thread, I would like to share the research results of my recently completed master thesis on the topic of "Urban Environmental Sanitation in Nepal: An assessment of community-scale, decentralised wastewater management in Nepal, and the potential or a community-led urban environmental sanitation approach in Tansen." This research provides a comparative assessment of case studies from the Nepalese urban and peri-urban communities of Sunga, Srikhandapur, Nala and Bhusal Danda.

You can view the full document here

In addition, a summary of my research findings can be viewed in the attached the PowerPoint presentation.
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I hope this research can provide some additional perspectives on the topic of urban community-led sanitation, particularly in regards to decentralised wastewater treatment systems (DEWATS) and management in developing countries.

Kindest Regards,

Laura Bright-Davies

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Re: What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

Thanks for posting about your thesis.
By a quick glance, it seems the relation to urban CLTS seems to be mainly the CLUES approach? www.susana.org/lang-en/library?view=ccbktypeitem&type=2&id=1300

Since you worked on that extensively, could you maybe quickly summarize the the similarities and differences between CLUES and CLTS for the benefit of the others? Thanks!

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  • franckconcern
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Re: What are your thoughts on urban CLTS? Can it work?

I would agree that from the moment the CLTS approach starts to incorporate planning tools and round table discussions with all the stakeholders invoveld in the sanitation sector (private, local autorities and not just the "community") then it starts being a bit complicate to see its difference with other approaches such as CLUES.

Should we state that the difference remains that CLTS, contrary to other appraoches, continues to rely on shame and disgust at the community level to trigger a willingness for change?

Cordialement
Franck Flachenberg
Concern Worldwide

Franck Flachenberg| Environmental Health Technical advisor| Concern Worldwide
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