Why not Basics for All? Scopes and Challenges of CLTS

IDS Bulletin, Feb 21, 2012

Why not Basics for All? Scopes and Challenges of Community-led Total Sanitation

Kamal Kar

The ‘Some for All’ dictum may work well for the water sector but is not appropriate and workable for the sanitation sector. We live in a paradox of concern for water quality for drinking, while displaying less concern about the haphazard and uncontrolled contamination of the sources of natural water. By contrast, the principle of ‘at least something for all/why not basics for all?’ on which Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is based, leads to collective behaviour change on a grand scale and empowers communities to completely eliminate open defecation and thus protect water bodies as well as improve health and livelihoods outcomes.

This is achieved through a process of collective local action with no upfront individual hardware subsidy and no prescribed models. With some 50 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America now adopting the approach, future challenges include sustainability, scaling-up with quality, gaining political buy in and addressing issues concerning environmental health and waste disposal.

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