Review of CLTS - A Mixed-Methods Systematic Review of Evidence and Its Quality

  • F H Mughal
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Review of CLTS

Review of CLTS

A recent (2 Feb 2018) paper, Community-Led Total Sanitation: A Mixed-Methods Systematic Review of Evidence and Its Quality, authored by Vidya Venkataramanan, Jonny Crocker, Andrew Karon, and Jamie Bartram, makes a compelling reading.

The abstract says (in part):

Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) is a widely applied rural behavior change approach for ending open defecation. However, evidence of its impact is unclear.

We conducted a systematic review of journal-published and gray literature to a) assess evidence quality, b) summarize CLTS impacts, and c) identify factors affecting implementation and effectiveness.

The evidence base on CLTS effectiveness available to practitioners, policymakers,and program managers to inform their actions is weak. Our results highlight the need for more rigorous research on CLTS impacts as well as applied research initiatives that bring researchers and practitioners together to address implementation challenges to improve rural sanitation efforts.


The paper also says:

We found that CLTS has been rolled out with minimal rigorous evidence on its effectiveness and impact on sanitation and health outcomes.

I can only add here that, one of the authors, Jamie Bartram, is a great name in water and sanitation field.

F H Mughal

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Edit by moderator: Link to the paper: doi.org/10.1289/EHP1965

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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  • arno
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Re: Review of CLTS

Thanks for this Mughal. This is indeed a comprehensive review of the literature on CLTS.
I am attaching the publication for others to take a look at well.
In deed CLTS is a controversial topic especially when it comes to its variable long-term impacts. Often CLTS is a powerful trigger to motivate community change and action. Just as often, however, this needs to be followed up with the more difficult work of provision of longer lasting sustainable sanitation solutions.
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Arno Rosemarin PhD
Stockholm Environment Institute
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Review of CLTS

Dear Dr. Arno,

Yes, you are right. It is quite comprehensive - 200 studies (14 quantitative evaluations, 29 qualitative studies, and 157 case studies).

You say: I am attaching the publication for others to take a look at well. I would love to see the reactions of others. Kindly do share.

Recently, a lady from Pakistan wrote and said that CLTS is extensively practiced in Pakistan, and, get this: CLTS is being institutionalized by the provincial governments. I did not believe her. I wrote her to show the documentary proof. She never replied.

Regards,
F H Mughal

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  • muench
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Re: Review of CLTS

Dear Mughal,

Thanks for pointing out this very important review paper of CLTS. It came in very handy for me today as I was doing some work on the CLTS Wikipedia article and was looking for a good reference to substantiate some statements which hadn't been referenced yet. I looked on the forum, saw your forum post, started reading the review paper and found it very useful. I ended up citing it in 11 places in the Wikipedia article:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community-led_total_sanitation

I'll drop a note to the authors later today to let them know and to ask them to check if they agree with how I cited them. They might also wish to comment in this thread, e.g. regarding how their paper has been received.

The study was by the way funded via a grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant has been talked about here on the forum (Plan USA was the grantee):
forum.susana.org/5-community-led-approac...a-and-ghana?start=12
(2 pages of discussion)

Regards,
Elisabeth

Community manager and chief moderator of this forum
funded via SEI project until January 2019 ( www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @EvMuench
Sanitation Wikipedia project leader: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Review of CLTS

Dear Elisabeth,

I'm glad to note that my submission was helpful.

In addition to what you wrote in the second para, I suggest that you request the forum readers to give comment on your CLTS Wikipedia article.

Regards,
F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
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  • muench
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Re: Review of CLTS

Dear Mughal,

I agree with your suggestion. How about you are the first to comment and provide suggestions for improvements on the Wikipedia article about CLTS? If you have any, please put them into this existing thread from 2015 (at that time Joe Turner and I made a range of far-ranging improvements):
forum.susana.org/discussions-about-speci...dia-let-s-improve-it

(I contacted the authors as I had mentioned in my post on 20 April but got no reply)

Regards,
Elisabeth

Community manager and chief moderator of this forum
funded via SEI project until January 2019 ( www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @EvMuench
Sanitation Wikipedia project leader: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Review of CLTS

Dear Elisabeth,

I don't have any comment to offer, at this stage. However, I'm eager to see what others have to say. This is going to be interesting.

Regards,

F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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