Beyond Subsidies: Triggering a Revolution in Rural Sanitation

July 2009

CLTS offers a beacon of hope for better rural sanitation with resulting gains
for millions of the people affected by open defecation.

About 2 billion people living in rural areas are adversely affected by open defecation. In many countries, the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation is off track. Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) is a radically different approach to rural sanitation and has shown promising successes where traditional rural sanitation programmes have failed. Unlike traditional programmes, CLTS does not involve providing subsidies for individual household hardware.
In CLTS, communities conduct their own analysis, come to their own conclusions, and take their own action. All members of the community gain, especially women, adolescent girls and children. CLTS is now being practised in more than 20 countries, but there are obstacles to its wider uptake.
This In Focus Policy Briefing asks: how can we maximise the huge potential for transforming rural sanitation that the CLTS approach offers? What has worked? What hinders progress? What should be done?

Additional details

PublisherInstitute of Development Studies
ApproachesCommunity-led approaches, Sanitation approaches

Bongartz, P. and Chambers, R. (2009) ‘Beyond Subsidies – Triggering a Revolution in Rural Sanitation’, In Focus Policy Briefing Issue 10, Brighton: IDS


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