Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Do’s And Don’ts For CLTS Facilitators

Source: Emmanuel Ato Quansah
Extension Services Specialist
CWSA – Upper West

                                                                                                                               Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is based on stimulating a collective sense of disgust and shame among community members as they confront the crude facts about mass open defecation and its negative impacts on the entire community (Kar, 2005). Hence, CLTS seeks to achieve and maintain “Open Defecation-Free (ODF)” communities and improved hygiene practices. The aim of CLTS is to make community members realize that they need to change their own behaviour which is negatively affecting the sanitation of their community and to decide on their own, how to deal with the problem.


Using tools such as the transect walk, defecation area mapping, faecal - oral transmission routes, shit calculation and calculation of medical expenses, the CLTS concept has recorded a lot of success stories in several parts of the world such as in Asia, Africa, Latin America and in the Middle East (IDS, 2013). Among countries that have enjoyed immense benefits from the CLTS concept include Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Indonesia, Ethiopia, South Africa (IDS, 2013). In Ghana, communities such as Bamkpama, Kaa, Kusale and many more have achieved ODF through the CLTS concept. However, the success of the CLTS largely depends on the facilitator’s knowledge on the Do’s and Don’ts of the concept. 

Do and Don’t

According to Kar and Chambers (2008), to enable the CLTS concept to arrive at sustainable ODF for communities, the facilitator who is the one who uses the concept to change the behavior of people must be guided by a number of Do’s and Don’ts. Some key Do’ and Don’ts include:

Do I

The facilitation must allow community members to decide on their own latrine designs. 

Don’t I

The CLTS concept does not allow the prescription of latrines. The community members must decide for themselves the designs they prefer to use for the construction of their latrines; using local materials. This ‘‘Don’t’’, when followed, will enable community members to easily construct latrines that fall within their means


Facilitate communities to carry out their own sanitation situation analysis.

Don’t II

The concept does not allow facilitators to educate, preach or lecture the people. For instance, a facilitator is not required to tell community members that open defecation is bad and so the community members must stop it. Instead, the facilitator is expected to use participatory means such as engaging the communities in sensitive questions that demands answers that will enable community members to realize that their sanitation condition is bad; and hence, there is the need for them to take their own action to change it.


Facilitator must encourage self help among community members. Community members must help themselves in the provision of local materials for the construction of local materials and not to rely on any subsidy from external sources such as donors and government.

Don’t III

The concept does not allow the provision of subsidy. This means that the community member must not be given any form of financial or logistical supports. Materials such as cements, slabs, roofing sheets, blocks or bricks must not be provided for the community members in the construction of the latrine. The members of the community must construct the latrines using their own local materials and resources. 


The facilitator must use the people’s own crude terms throughout (e.g. the local crude term for shit)

Don’t IV

The facilitator is expected not to use nice and polite words. In doing so, the community members easily feel shame and disgust about the bad sanitation conditions of their environment and takes up actions to address them easily. 

Do V

Facilitator must stand back; leave the discussion for the Community to take their own actions; and listen very attentively. Facilitator must also watch out for Natural Leader who will emerge.

Don’t V

The facilitator is not to take charge of the discussions that will go on among the community member during their exercise.  This will enable the community to appraise their own sanitation situation and take actions on their own.  The facilitators must not interrupt community members who discuss issues among themselves in decision making. 

It is worth noting, that community’s response to CLTS concept largely lies on how facilitators observe the Do’s and Don’ts. The success stories of CLTS in several parts of the world are traced to how the effective facilitators followed religiously the Do’s and Don’ts of the concept. However, the situation may be otherwise if facilitators downplay the potentials of the Do’s and Don’ts. The onus of scaling up sanitation greatly lies on facilitators commitment the Do’s and Don’ts.


  1. I would like to know the best practices which have been deployed by the government to motivate such CLTS facilitators? Their pay structure, promotion, remuneration etc?

  2. I would like to know the best practices which have been deployed by the government to motivate such CLTS facilitators? Their pay structure, promotion, remuneration etc?