Teachers and Sanitation Promotion: An Assessment of Community Led Total Sanitation in Ethiopia. Env Sci Tech, May 2016.
Authors: Jonny Crocker, Abiyot Geremew, Fisseha Atalie, Messele Yetie, and Jamie Bartram
Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) is a participatory approach to addressing open defecation that has demonstrated success in previous studies, yet there is no research on how implementation arrangements and context change effectiveness. We used a quasi-experimental study design to compare two interventions in Ethiopia: conventional CLTS in which health workers and local leaders provided facilitation and an alternative approach in which teachers provided facilitation.
In 2012, Plan International Ethiopia trained teachers from 111 villages and health workers and leaders from 54 villages in CLTS facilitation. The trained facilitators then implemented CLTS in their respective villages
for a year. Latrine ownership, use, and quality were measured with household surveys.
Differences between interventions were explored using surveys and interviews. The decrease in open defecation associated with teacher-facilitated CLTS was 8.2 percentage points smaller than for conventional CLTS (p = 0.048). Teachers had competing responsibilities and initially lacked support from local leaders, which may have lessened their success.
Teachers may be more appropriate for a supporting rather than leading role in sanitation promotion because they did demonstrate ability and engagement. Open defecation decreased by 15.3 percentage points overall but did not change where baseline open defecation was below 30%.
Ownership of a latrine with stable flooring increased by 8.7 percentage points overall. Improved latrine ownership did not change during the intervention. CLTS is most appropriate where open defecation is high because there were no significant changes in sanitation practices or latrine upgrades where baseline open defecation was low