Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) stands as a participatory strategy, empowering communities to evaluate and understand their own sanitation circumstances. This approach is not just about building toilets; it's about mobilising individuals to identify and address their sanitation and hygiene needs. By fostering community involvement, CLTS aims to drive behavioral shifts in sanitation practices, ultimately combating open defecation.
Communities often face social and health challenges due to the widespread practice of open defecation, stemming from inadequate access to sanitation. The core objective of CLTS is to eradicate open defecation entirely and elevate hygiene standards to combat diarrheal diseases. This process entails progressing through various phases, starting with planning and implementing concrete actions like training and supporting locals, ultimately leading to tangible results aiming to catalyze behavioral transformation towards improved sanitation and hygiene practices within communities.
Progress in 2023: 23 Villages Covered
In April 2023, the collaborative efforts of Mifuko Trust's WASH & Grow! project and the Makueni county government successfully trained 60 CLTS champions. With the support of local public health officials, these champions have initiated positive change in 23 villages that are currently progressing towards achieving an Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. As part of the initiative, an ecological dry toilet has been introduced as a sustainable sanitation option. In 2023, 14 dry toilets were constructed with seed funding, and the majority of construction costs were covered by the toilet owners — female artisans and their families.
Collaborating Towards Sustainable Future
Since the initiation of CLTS in the region, significant transformations have been observed. Positive changes are reflected in various indicators, including a reduction in traditional open defecation sites, and increased latrine coverage and availability of hand-washing stations with soap at the household level.
While the health administration manages the project implementation costs and staff expenses, The WASH and Grow! project plays a pivotal role by providing support for the training processes. The collaborative efforts are truly making a difference and paving the way for a healthier and more sustainable future.