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

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  • sengel
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  • I'm a lecturer at the Uni of Wollongong in Australia, with a growing interest in the politics and sociology of sanitation
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

Thanks David for raising these important questions. In Indonesia, where I have done some research, their answer was to provide free concrete rings and liners - despite the CLTS hostility to subsidies. Yet this then raised the next issue of what happens when the pit is full and CLTS doesn't adequately or at all address this - it is meant to be dealt with by the market.

Pit emptying is a particular issue in higher density rural areas, as across much of Java, where you can't always simply dig another pit. My research, which was only small-scale, showed people returned to open defecation. It is available from: ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1110/

A recent paper that mentions the poor quality of constructed latrines is: Wells and Sijbesma (2012) "Practical innovations for strengthening CLTS", Development in Practice 22(3): 417-426.
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

Friends have raised valid points that need to be clarified, especially David’s point: "Can you also shed some light on the controversy between figures used in the book that were refuted by the Madagascan Minister?"

The publication, “Promising Pathways,” carries rather protracted foreword by KK (10 pp). While I had the delightful experience of meeting KK at World Water Forum 6, in Marseille, France in March 2012, I feel it is not quite acceptable, when given to understand that CLTS is a “near-universal” sanitation problems’ solution. CLTS in urban areas is not implementable, for the simple reason that, in urban areas, it is not the question of pit latrine or open defecation. We have a whole sewerage setup from sewage generation, transportation, treatment and ultimate disposal. Where do the predominantly rural CLTS initiatives fit in the equation?

F H Mughal
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  • DavidAlan
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  • David Crosweller
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

Preetha, I have not seen a response relating to the book launch and the subsequent letter that was sent. Could you give some details and an update please. Thanks.

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  • dwumfourasare
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  • Dr. Bismark Dwumfour-Asare has PhD and MSc in Water Supply, Environmental Sanitation and Waste Management from the Civil Engineering Department of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana. He also holds a BSc in Biochemistry. He is currently an Associate Professor at AAMUSTED, Ghana.
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

Well, i am enjoying this interesting debate about CLTS. there have been a couple of studies in places where interventions are claimed to be successful. it will be good for such reports and papers to be shared for us to see what is happening. i hope this debate will spark professionals and practitioners to start sharing their experiences and studies. it appears proponents will almost always will be apprehensive with criticisms if they might be obvious.

in my little experiences, i've not seen any strong evidence agains subsidy based approach to sanitation. well, i've not seen yet in Ghana here where subsidy based latrines were never used by households or beneficiaries (who are genuinely poor/needy) who can barely afford a 2-square meal, but people always say subsidy approach to sanitation is bad. who has weighed the pros and cons of both subsidy based interventions and CLTS? some of these debates will continue once we are not seeing any improvement either with CLTS which appears to "crucify" subsidy based interventions. in fact, the irony of the matter is that, most subsidy based sanitation approaches appeared to be subsidiaries/subservient of water supply interventions/projects but not interventions on their own. so some condemnations could be false as well.
Prof. Bismark Dwumfour-Asare (PhD)
Dept. of Environmental Health and Sanitation.
Asante Mampong Campus
Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (AAMUSTED)
Ghana

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

[Start of Page 2 of the discussion]


Well Joe, I am not a CLTS expert but I would have thought most CLTS facilitators are experts in behviour change rather than hydrology. Therefore external expertise (not allowed by Kar) would still be needed.

To my surprise I just came across a new publication in the Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights series called " Participatory Design Development for Sanitation " which is actually about building better latrines that don't collapse. There's even mention of a "qualified structural engineer" to review designs and a "business consultant" to "support the entrepreneurs in technical training and ongoing quality control". So not all CLTS promoters (the publication was from UNICEF) reject external "interference"!
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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

Ah-ha, thanks Cor. Maybe you are talking about the [hydrological] knowledge of the facilitators of the triggering process then?


[End of Page 1 of the discussion]

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

Dear Joe,

Regarding your point:

Is it reasonable to expect users in these kinds of village situations to understand the information given to them about water tables? I am a strong believer in the power of knowledge, but it seems to me that it is asking a lot to expect people with a low level of education to understand hydrology.


I think that Christoph and I meant: making villagers aware that poor quality latrines will collapse in areas with a high water table and suggesting better solutions. A service of a support agency would be to test groundwater levels before construction takes place.

Cor
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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 would be interested to hear whether users are actually satisfied with CTLS. If the study Cor has shared is more widely applicable, it seems possible that local people are not seeing a health improvement in their own lives from the efforts put in. It therefore seems logical that these people would be a bit cynical about the whole point of sanitation and might not put much effort into maintaining or improving their latrines.

Regarding this point from Cor/Christoph:

Christoph makes a valid point. It is unethical to deny communities access to information that will help them avoid unnecessary mistakes.


Is it reasonable to expect users in these kinds of village situations to understand the information given to them about water tables? I am a strong believer in the power of knowledge, but it seems to me that it is asking a lot to expect people with a low level of education to understand hydrology. I'd be interested to hear if there are examples where it has been possible to educate local people about these things and where they have been able to use the knowledge without any further assistance.

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

For further insight into pros and cons of CLTS this was discussed at a World Water Week seminar organized by Africa Ahead and Stockholm Environment Institute on Aug 31, 2014. Comparisons with Community Health Clubs were made. The conclusion was that the two approaches needn't be opposite to each other and that CLTS could benefit greatly with a CHC approach as follow up.

See the video recordings from this meeting.

forum.susana.org/forum/categories/26-hea...k-in-sept-2014#10105

or

www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoJ3pxCzM...-share_playlist_user
Arno Rosemarin PhD
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  • mkoslengar
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

Thanks Dietvorst, David and Christoph to bring up this very important question.

In the Myths of the Rural Water Supply sector abstract, one can read ''many of the constructed services have not continued to work over time. It has been estimated that only two out of three installed handpumps are working at any given time. Thousands of people, who once benefited from a safe drinking water supply, now walk past broken handpumps or taps and on to their traditional, dirty water point''

I see this sentence, be applied for ''poorly constructed pit latrines'' in some villages where communities have adopted inappropriate sanitation technologies.
I personally believe sanitation programs shouldnt continue to henge in between options
1- communities using poorly constructed toilets ( with all the risk that David and chistoph have mentioned earlier)
2- communities not using the nicely designed and sustainable infrastructures etc..

We just need to be the right sanitation advisors to the communities and guide them toward the best and sustainable options(according to context).
Mougabe Koslengar
WASH specialist at UNICEF

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

Dear all,

The CLTS movement's belief in community-led approaches is reminiscent of the belief of the rural water sector a decade ago in community management. In the 2010 RWSN publication Myths of the Rural Water Supply Sector , Myth no. 3 reads: "Communities are always capable of managing their facilities on their own".

External support, as opposed to external control, is not only needed but also a tax payer's right. Indeed, the Plan Australia CLTS study discussed earlier on this forum , recommended that more support was needed to maintain behaviours and upgrade latrines. Plan International's ongoing Pan-Africa Programme will hopefully shed more light on this issue.

Just like David, I would also like to see the hard evidence that shows that CLTS on its own leads to people moving up the sanitation ladder, or even to a sustainable community-wide ODF status. A recent study in The Philippines found that the "prevalence of helminthiases was highest in a village that benefitted from CLTS".

Christoph makes a valid point. It is unethical to deny communities access to information that will help them avoid unnecessary mistakes.
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  • DavidAlan
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  • David Crosweller
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Re: Debate about effectiveness of CLTS, prompted by UNICEF official after book launch about CLTS in Madagascar

I have to say Christoph makes a good point. Surely if you have to repeatedly dig pits over a short space of time, at some point the digger says 'enough!'.

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