Challenging mindsets: CLTS and government policy in Zimbabwe (PLA 61)

Journal (part) article
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Published: November 2010
Participatory Learning and Action
Product code:G02805
Source publication:
Participatory Learning and Action 61 Tales of Shit: Community-Led Total Sanitation in Africa

Here, the author discusses how Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is challenging perceptions and sanitation policy in Zimbabwe. Its zero subsidy approach has met with mixed reactions. Since the 1980s the government has adopted sanitation standards, with a heavily subsidised National Sanitation Programme. However, the government lacked the resources to support it and latrine designs are unaffordable for most rural communities without subsidies. In contrast, CLTS was piloted in Zimbabwe in 2008, during a time of devastating economic meltdown and widespread cholera. The dramatic decrease in development assistance and subsidies in Zimbabwe led many communities to seek their own sanitation solutions. CLTS provides the flexibility to do this, and at district and community levels it has been widely embraced. However, at national government levels the approach has been contested. Existing policies, institutional incapacity and uncoordinated approaches to sanitation interventions are major challenges. Yet CLTS has boosted the confidence of many communities to find their own solutions. The author concludes that it is not about prescribing sanitation structures – it is about changing mindsets.

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

Rukuni, S. (2010). Challenging mindsets: CLTS and government policy in Zimbabwe (PLA 61). .
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