Through the strong commitment of Government, Kenya has rolled out Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) at scale over the last 5 years to address significant gaps in sanitation coverage but there are concerns over the sustainability of open defecation free (ODF) achievements.
A comprehensive study on the sustainability of ODF practice was carried out and the findings have helped sanitation actors to adjust their CLTS programme approach.
The study showed that CLTS has resulted in sustained ODF practice in more than 95 per cent of the households but because of continued open defecation (OD) by a few households in each community, more than 70 per cent of villages have partially or fully lapsed from ODF status.
The main reasons for households reverting to OD are lack of access to their own (not shared), safe and functioning toilet and young children’s defecation practice; while demonstrated health benefits are the main motivating factor for households sustaining latrine use.
The ODF sustainability assessment provides useful insights into how and why households maintain ODF status and shows that communities with strongly-rooted social norms around sanitation behaviour maintain ODF status more easily.