By ROBERT CHAMBERS, research associate, Institute of Development Studies

Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is a radical participatory approach in which mainly rural communities are facilitated to analyse their practice of open defaecation and its effects and through disgust and self-respect decide to take action to stop it. Typically this takes a matter of weeks or months.

CLTS started in Bangladesh and has been spread to other countries including India, Indonesia, Nepal and Cambodia, and has recently been seeded in Latin America and Africa. The target is not total latrinisation but to become open defaecation free. Conditions are favourable for CLTS where open defaecation is widespread and there is no hardware subsidy programme. Its huge potential will not be realised in rural areas where donors provide large budgets for hardware.


  1. Just stumbled on this blog. Interesting.

    While on water… there is so much shortage of water, yet we take availability of water for granted. There is a lot we individually can do, like not wasting water. In an incrimental manner such individual efforts make an impact. Is it not?

  2. I totally agree Pradeep – individual efforts do add up. It would be great if the big donors took a second look at how their efforst could add up to, as Robert suggests in his piece.

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