Scaling up CLTS in sub-Saharan Africa (PLA 61)

Journal (part) article
PDF (188.03 KB)
Published: November 2010
Participatory Learning and Action
Product code:G02794
Source publication:
Participatory Learning and Action issue 61 - Tales of Shit: Community-Led Total Sanitation in Africa

Of 44 countries in sub-Saharan Africa only four are currently on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7 target on sanitation. Diarrhoea is a major cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa and is clearly linked to inadequate sanitation, hygiene and water supply. There are an estimated 565 million people in sub-Saharan Africa without access to improved sanitation and, worse, 224 million who practice open defecation – the riskiest sanitation practice of all. Here, the authors describe how the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has been working with partners to implement Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Community-led approaches to sanitation have been demonstrated to rapidly improve sanitation coverage in Asia and have recently been introduced in Africa. This positive South-South transfer is showing great promise in terms of accelerating coverage. It has real potential, when scaled up, to make a strong impact on the appalling figures cited above. This article examines some of the many opportunities and challenges met during the introduction of CLTS in Africa to date, both by UNICEF and its partners – and considers key issues for scaling up and sustainability.

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board. See:

Article in: PLA 61. Guest-edited by: Petra Bongartz, Samuel Musembi Musyoki, Angela Milligan and Holly Ashley.

Keywords: CLTS, Community-Led Total Sanitation, water, hygiene, Kamal Kar, health, PRA, scaling up, policy, triggering, training, facilitation.

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Cite this publication

Hickling, S. and Bevan, J. (2010). Scaling up CLTS in sub-Saharan Africa (PLA 61). .
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