2010 WCARO Regional: Roll Out Evaluation of Community Led Total Sanitation in West & Central Africa
Author: UNICEF, Ecopsis Consulting
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The regional CLTS roll-out process has allowed the dissemination of CLTS in 18 WCAR countries out of 24, with acceptance and enthusiasm perceived at all levels. As a result of the successful transfer of CLTS from Asia to Africa, some 1,600 communities are report-ed to be ODF out of 6,336 triggered communities. The potential effect of CLTS to push both rural and peri-urban populations towards safe sanitation practices and countries back on track with their sanitation MDG is indeed important.
However, based on the information made available, the sustainability of these achieve-ments remains fragile. Where coverage is very low this type of approach shows great promise as a first step to bring people into the sanitation ladder, but due to a lack of fol-low-up resources and the limited existence of sanitation market chain in most countries, it has been frequently observed that sanitary infrastructure quality and hygiene behaviours tend to weaken over time.
In a region where highly subsidized supply-driven approaches have been or still are the rule for most rural sanitation strategies and investments, the key success of CLTS in the region is to put households in a sovereign decision making position. However, the enthu-siasm of national sector institutions under MDG time pressure is inducing a risk to bypass this CLTS core principle and transform it into a top-down authoritative approach.
These findings support the hypothesis that CLTS should be complemented by financing mechanisms for developing the sanitation supply chain in parallel, e.g. sanitation market-ing approach, so that induced changes become sustainable.
Considering the historical background of the sanitation sector, it can be considered that the political commitment and ownership gained in most countries is satisfactory. Each country designated one or two people within national institutions as CLTS focal points, generally within the Ministries in charge of sanitation, water or health. In accordance with the eThekwini Declaration, several countries have elaborated or reviewed their national sanitation strategies and integrated CLTS.
With an overall ODF rate of 25% and a geographical expansion on 40% of the territory, it appears that CLTS expansion strategy remains at pilot stage. Considering the factor of time since first introduction, the total number of triggered communities and the ODF rates, Sierra Leone and Mali must be considered as model countries. They seem to have reached a certain maturity due to a strong political commitment and an efficient implementation strategy: adapted time and pacing, enough resources for follow-up and monitoring, quality of the CLTS tools (facilitation, certification and celebration).
As part of a global UNICEF strategy to build up sanitation coverage and to reinvigorate sanitation programmes in the region, CLTS was introduced starting in 2008 throughout both Francophone and Anglophone countries in the West and Central Africa region (WCAR).
UNICEF WCAR office has hired ECOPSIS (the Consultant) to evaluate at the regional, national, facilitation and implementation levels the roll-out/pilot phase of CLTS, and the opportunities for extending CLTS as a tool for contributing in the achievement of the MDG. The evaluation assignment included a desk study, remote data collection through questionnaires and visits to 5 countries to meet national stakeholders and make field assessments. Data analysis and evaluation processes were then performed in correlation with broader international sanitation expertise.
The facilitation capacities in the countries are shared between government institutions, national and international NGO, consulting firms and UNICEF national offices. At the actual stage of the regional CLTS roll-out process, the WCAR counts 106 key-trainers and 1,745 facilitators.
As a counter effect of an evident great enthusiasm, the cascading training-of-trainers process represents a significant risk that the quality of the training deteriorates over time and unqualified facilitators could negatively impact the achievement of the triggering purpose.
With funding from UNICEF, CREPA assumed the training and promotion of CLTS in 9 Francophone countries and has contributed to the training of 872 or 50% of the facilitators in the WCAR.
The field investigation has shown that CLTS arguments, activities and tools have proven to be efficient within the African rural context. The sometimes mentioned reticence to publicly address defecation was not reported as a major problem in the CLTS acceptance.
All the original CLTS tools (community mapping, walk of shame, evaluating the amount of faeces, the water glass exercise, etc.) have been used without any modification. At this stage, some 750,000 people have reached ODF status, as a result of the triggering process. As observed throughout the mission, post-triggering activities definitely have a strong impact on CLTS effectiveness.
In total, about 102,000 latrines have been constructed as result of CLTS roll-out in WCAR. Little detailed data was made available about whether these latrines are improved or unimproved according to JMP criteria (accountable for MDG).
The kick-off CLTS effect elevates households demand for sanitation to a first step on the sanitation ladder. Additional programme components leading to enhanced access to the sanitation market or qualified masons, affordable finance or industrial construction mate-rial are necessary to reach improved sanitation facilities and sustained hygiene improvements.
Regarding gender considerations, a good integration of the whole community has been noticed with active participation of men, women, children, young and elders.
In order to be equitable and respect the dignity of the poorest, implementation strategies must integrate an adequate repartition of financial resources between urban and rural areas, as well as ensure sufficient quality of the facilitation (“CLTS ethos”), a careful usage of penalties and fair ODF certification processes.
Lessons learned through the present evaluation suggest the following improvements in the way CLTS is implemented in WCAR:
- To address a complementary approach at policy and programme level to develop the sanitation supply chain to sustain the endogenous hygiene development triggered by CLTS.
- To evaluate alternative financing models in order to optimize the allocation of public funding in terms of effectiveness in promoting sanitary improvements.
- To establish a standardized methodology describing each steps of the CLTS approach as a framework to compile meaningful data and compare the cost efficiency of the CLTS programmes in the WCAR countries.
- To carefully monitor pilot projects to maturity before scaling up.
- To capitalize on successful cases by reinforcing dissemination and exchange of expe-rience.
- To advocate CLTS and support the responsible national entity to integrate the ap-proach into their national sanitation policy.
- To support national CLTS focal points and national institutions in improving their CLTS implementation strategy and investment plans and in developing appropriate budgeting and controlling capabilities.
- To assure and enhance the quality of facilitators and to monitor their performance
- To formalize and harmonize manuals and tools for the entire CLTS process from field intervention planning to triggering, certification and follow up.
- To ensure a regular follow-up and increase the duration of the post-triggering activi-ties.
- To define adequate ODF certification criteria and ensure an accepted and fair ODF certification process.
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