Water, Sanitation and Hygiene


© UNICEF/Bolivia/2007
A home-built latrine constructed through the community-led total sanitation initiative in Bolivia.

While gains were made in sanitation coverage over the last 15 years, some regions and countries are not on track to meet the MDG sanitation target by 2015. It is now clear that new approaches are necessary to sustainably increase coverage levels.

UNICEF is increasingly emphasizing sanitation, expanding its own programmes of support in countries around the world and advocating for an increased focus on sanitation by governments and funding partners. The focus of UNICEF support is to help develop improved programming models and to provide support to government partners for taking successful models to scale. This approach involves significant work at the field level while engaging governments and other stakeholders at national level. UNICEF is also active in the development of improved sanitation technology: developing and promoting latrines and toilets that are affordable but also satisfy criteria for safety, effectiveness, sustainability, environmental impact and child-friendliness.

New community based approaches for sanitation promotion are showing considerable promise in some countries. Instead of focussing on latrine construction, these approaches stress the elimination of open defecation in communities. Communities are encouraged to carry out an analysis of existing defecation patterns and threats, and to use local resources to build low-cost household latrines and ultimately eliminate the practice of open defecation.

These approaches have been especially successful in Cambodia, Zambia and other countries (where the approach is called community-led total sanitation, or CLTS). In India, where the approach – called total sanitation – is being applied on a large-scale, the MDG target for sanitation will likely be met and exceeded. The model is also being introduced with successful results in Bolivia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nigeria and other countries.



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