Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

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  • psewor
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Re: Reply: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

I really appreciate your comment on water pollution. Is time for our developing partners to stop promoting on-site treatment sanitation facilities in the developing countries. Is time now to start thinking of central sewerage treatment system in urban cities and adopt dry toilet in rural communities. This would reduce water pollution. From literature review and microbiological test conducted at random in Ho -Volta Region, there was an indication of E-Coli and Feacal Coilform content in 86% of the results.

Is an of killing the habitats slowly and indirectly

Thank you

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  • pkjha
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

Proper hygiene education and cultural taboos are perhaps the most important aspects for using toilets in rural households.Even in rural households there are wide range of socio-cultural and economic groups . Some households are using toilets for over a decade while some households may not construct and use toilets for next few decades. Most of such people are illiterate and for them hygiene education is quite a difficult term/tool to understand.
Social acceptability, economic affordability and environmentally safe are the basic aspects of sustainability. In India, two leach pit toilets are in use for years in many households in rural as well in urban areas. However, for areas having high water table it should not be considered a sustainable option as it causes ground water pollution. It is quite unsafe for areas where drinking water source is also on-site- from hand pumps or wells. However, most of the households are not aware of this negative aspect. For them it is a sustainable option. Again health and hygiene education is an important part here also.

Pawan
Pawan Jha
Chairman
Foundation for Environment and Sanitation
Mahavir Enclave
New Delhi 110045, India
Web: www.foundation4es.org
Linked: linkedin.com/in/drpkjha

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  • pjbury
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

So, it's really about Hygiene education, right?
A question: are you monitoring the effective use of latrines built over a longer period of time (at least 2 years I'd say)? Otherwise we have no clue if the solution is a valid (a.k.a. sustainable) one!?
Peter J. Bury

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  • pkjha
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

Dear Sujoy and all

Thanks for your work under the DFID funded program. In the name of CLTS in many cases, small bore latrines with superstructures with plastic sheet/ gunny bags have been implemented. In some districts in Jharkhand, India several Village Panchayats were declared O.D.F through CLTS by implementing such toilets within a week or month time with minimum cost. I visited five such districts last year and it was observed that only after a few weeks none of those villages was ODF. It was almost 100% OD in all the villages visited. There was smell due to lack of water seal, superstructure was blown away during wind, borehole was filled during rain water. Such toilets are insanitary and unhygienic. It can be better termed as fixed point defecation.
CLTS is definitely a good tool, provided toilets made are sanitary and their quality is not compromised in the name of low cost.

With regards
Pawan
Pawan Jha
Chairman
Foundation for Environment and Sanitation
Mahavir Enclave
New Delhi 110045, India
Web: www.foundation4es.org
Linked: linkedin.com/in/drpkjha
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  • sujoy
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

Dear All- a very interesting and relevant topic.

The number of people moving up the sanitation ladder without external support is few and it is time that the assumption that if we get a person to use a latrine for a while, he/she will never go back to OD, but instead aspire to climb up the sanitation ladder.

I believe that simple pit latrines, being unsustainable should not be promoted at all. the sanitation ladder should begin with access to am improved sanitary latrine.As a CLTS practitioner, I have had the experience of promoting simple pits and watching people go back to OD. I now promote the construction of improved sanitary latrines ( two leach pit, pan and trap and a master chamber) and rural communities in a DFID supported project in Odisha, India have been successfully triggered to construct improved sanitary latrines and become ODF. Am currently promoting the same in an UNICEF supported project in West Bengal, India. Improved sanitation systems being more sustainable, users are less likely to revert to OD.

The key to success, has been extensive discussions with communities on sanitation technology and options.

Sanitation technology is not exactly rocket science and if we are promising people that their lives will be better by using a latrine, it is absolutely essential that the logic behind sanitation technology is discussed and understood by users. It all depends on the language used.

Best regards
Sujoy Chaudhury
WASH Practitioner
India

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  • joeturner
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

OK, but as I said previously, the facilitators can only advise if a) they know about the issues (are they all fully trained in hydrology?) and b) the community ask the right questions.

It seems to me that this whole process is based on the assumption that people know already a fairly deep amount of information - so that they can deal responsibly with their own sanitation and/or ask relevant questions.

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  • PreethaP
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

Hi David,
Yes I agree with you that nothing can be taken for granted and I did not mean to generalise. And of course there are lessons for all of us to learn from different contexts. My point is just that let us also learn from positive examples as much as we need to understand and address the challenges presented by others such as the Tamil Nadu case you mentioned. (I believe that in either of the cases there are many intersecting and influencing factors that contribute to the final outcome and one needs to understand these from various perspectives)

Joe – Please do read my first para in conjunction with the second.

Best reagrds,
preetha

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  • joeturner
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

PreethaP wrote: Hi Joe.

There is an established vast body of knowledge in participatory research and development that have addressed the concerns you raise with your last point. I am sure you would find a lot of your answers in the documented work of experts in this field and Prof. Robert Chamber’s work in this regard (‘Whose reality counts?’, ‘Revolutions in development enquiry’ among others) is especially thought-provoking and inspiring. I believe that rural communities are well plugged into their environment and understand it in deeper ways than what ‘outsiders’ and ‘experts’ may comprehend. And if communities can manage their housing, agriculture, livelihood etc. I am sure they also understand their land, ground water issues etc. well enough to know what solutions work/do not work for them in any particular context. When you get a chance, please also read the book ‘Promising Pathways’ that documents different technological innovations that local people have developed to address their sanitation situation.


Just to be clear here: your position is that local people already have sufficient indigenous soil and groundwater knowledge (never mind engineering, etc) to build sustainable sanitation systems in all contexts that you work in?

If that is what you meant to say, it seems quite a remarkable statement of faith.

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  • DavidAlan
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

Preetha, you said:

I believe that rural communities are well plugged into their environment and understand it in deeper ways than what ‘outsiders’ and ‘experts’ may comprehend. And if communities can manage their housing, agriculture, livelihood etc. I am sure they also understand their land, ground water issues etc. well enough to know what solutions work/do not work for them in any particular context.

In my experience they are remarkably, and sadly, lacking in this kind of knowledge. I know of several villages in Tamil Nadu that were encouraged (I do not know if this was part of a CLTS scheme) to construct pit toilets and these have polluted the ground water. This now means that villagers have to buy bottled water with which to drink and cook; they are further stretching a meagre income and there is a real mistrust of sanitation and outsiders.

I don't think we should ever take things for granted at any level of development work, especially relating to sanitation.

David

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  • PreethaP
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

Hi Joe.

There is an established vast body of knowledge in participatory research and development that have addressed the concerns you raise with your last point. I am sure you would find a lot of your answers in the documented work of experts in this field and Prof. Robert Chamber’s work in this regard (‘Whose reality counts?’, ‘Revolutions in development enquiry’ among others) is especially thought-provoking and inspiring. I believe that rural communities are well plugged into their environment and understand it in deeper ways than what ‘outsiders’ and ‘experts’ may comprehend. And if communities can manage their housing, agriculture, livelihood etc. I am sure they also understand their land, ground water issues etc. well enough to know what solutions work/do not work for them in any particular context. When you get a chance, please also read the book ‘Promising Pathways’ that documents different technological innovations that local people have developed to address their sanitation situation.

Having said this, to say that the CLTS process is “community-led” does not mean that the community has to (or does) always work towards a solution in complete isolation. After the triggering event when the community collectively decides to take action, active discussions and explorations are initiated by the community during which time, they often involve the CLTS facilitator/s with whom they share an open and ongoing relationship by then. After the triggering event, there is an intensive period of post-triggering follow-up by the facilitator, when he/she actively engages with the community and together they may discuss issues related to ground water, what type of toilets to construct/buy, sustainability of the same and so on. The CLTS facilitators are mainly government front line staff (such as environmental health and sanitation officers, ministry of rural development, ministry of health officials etc.), community based extension workers, local NGO workers who get trained on CLTS but are also experts in their own respective fields. Many of these facilitators are well entrenched into the community and knowledgeable about their water and sanitation situation. So when the community seeks advice on technological solutions, the facilitators are expected to be equipped with the knowledge and information to offer guidance/choices or else be able to connect the community to other people/experts/sources who can offer the required guidance that the community seeks.

The key outcome that CLTS strives for is igniting collective behaviour change such that the entire community feels the need to stop open defecation immediately and takes collective action to achieve it. However, at what stage of the sanitation ladder one gets on to and how soon one moves up that ladder will depend on individual psycho-social and economic drivers and other aspects of accessibility, availability etc. This is why, once ODF is attained, the final stage of the CLTS process – post ODF activities - becomes very important and critical, not only in sustaining the achieved ODF behaviour change but also in enabling communities to move up the ladder. We all need to work towards addressing these challenges by connecting the state, market and the community together strategically.

I believe these thoughts might also answer a few other questions/comments posted earlier on this thread. Hoping to respond to some others at a later time.

Best regards,
preetha

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  • Petra
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

yes, sorry I can see that this might be confusing. Apologies. We are trying to correct this as we go. Often this derives from the methodology, CLTS, being confused with an organisation.
Earlier this year, the CLTS Knowledge Hub launched its new logo to prevent his confusion.
Petra Bongartz
independent consultant

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  • joeturner
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

I just wanted to circle back to Preetha's post:

PreethaP wrote:

In effect, the point is that CLTS is not oblivious to or anti the technology question. It is just not the question that has to be brought up at all when the initial discussion takes place in the community. Because bringing it up as an issue upfront means that the entire objective of making sanitation a felt community need is defeated. Also, any discussion on toilets and technology before igniting collective behaviour change among the community means that the sanitation question is being framed in advance by the outside facilitation and is therefore, an external concern and not internal to the community which has never felt it to be an issue of consequence anyway. CLTS has shown that the objective of making sanitation an internal concern – felt and owned by the community - can be met only by enabling the community to engage in self-analysis, realize their own situation and behaviour; understand consequences and resolve to take collective action at its own level. Safe confinement is a matter that the community is likely to bring up on its own during this process and toilet choices will be made from a range of options depending on legacy, stage of understanding, available material and capacity, affordability, sustainability, personal and community preference. Facilitators are expected to be able to assist in this process with information on choices, their advantages, disadvantages and costs. So here the technology aspect does come in very clearly. The point is that this technology question (or intervention) needs to be brought into the process at the right moment – after collective behaviour change of the community has been ignited and community demand for sanitation solutions has been created – and that the facilitator should not push for a particular mode when there are various options/modes that confine excreta safely in that particular context.


OK but how do you decide when the right moment is to tell a community that the technology that they could think, and build on their own is not going to last very long?

Do the facilitators know about the groundwater problems? Are you saying that they do not bring up any potential issues unless local people ask them? How, actually, can illiterate villagers be expected to know enough about hydrology to ask the right questions? I don't understand.

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