Author: Dr. Sok Kunthy and Rafael Norberto F. Catalla
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Among the key constraints identified through the rural water and sanitation sector review in 20061 is the lack of a strategic approach to sanitation and hygiene improvement. Subsidized sanitation approaches that have been adopted by most sanitation projects have not contributed meaningfully to improving the consistently low coverage of rural sanitation. CLTS (Community Led Total Sanitation) is a new approach to achieving better sanitation which fosters innovation and commitment within the community and motivates people to build their own sanitation infrastructure, without depending on hardware subsidies from external agencies. CLTS has been identified as one potential approach to accelerating rural sanitation improvement in Cambodia2. However, since then no further study has been conducted to assess the effectiveness of CLTS and subsidized sanitation approaches. A comparative study of the two approaches is therefore required with the results the formative evaluation contributing towards development of the National Strategy on Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement.
There were two main evaluation objectives - review the current experiences of the CLTS approach in terms of achievements; barriers; and opportunities for further strengthening and scaling-up and comparison the performance of the CLTS approach with that of subsidized sanitation approaches in terms of sustainability, equity and access, effectiveness, and efficiency/ cost-effectiveness of CLTS.
The evaluation methodology comprised of literature review, interview surveys, FGDs, and observations in CLTS and TSRWSSP (TS) villages in six selected provinces, and discussions with CLTS facilitators at the national and provincial levels, project staff of the TS project, several key officers of MRD, UNICEF, Plan International, and the TS project. A national workshop was also held where the initial findings of the evaluation was presented for comments and validation from various stakeholders. Field surveys, the main source of information of the evaluation, were conducted in six of the nine provinces where the CLTS approach is currently being implemented. The TS project was selected as the subsidized programme to be compared with CLTS since it also started in 2006 and is being implemented in two of the six sample CLTS provinces. Six villages that were not exposed to CLTS or to the TS project were also surveyed to see the relevance of sanitation among rural households.
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