In the October issue of the Water and Sanitation Program’s excellent Access Newsletter there’s a salutary piece on ‘Moving Beyond Open Defecation Free Sanitation in Pakistan’. According to this report:
Pakistan has taken an important step towards improved sanitation through a major sector assessment and setting up of a core group that seeks to move communities beyond open defecation free (ODF) status. The Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach has already enabled more than 1,500 villages in Pakistan to achieve ODF status and is expected to reach 15,000 villages by June 2011. This will mean that a third of the rural population of Pakistan would be covered. To consolidate this progress and scale up learning, a Core Group was formed in August 2008 to advise the government in policy refinement and implementation of its nation-wide sanitation policy. ... The group commissioned an assessment of CLTS pilots in nine villages in the country. The evidence gathered revealed that CLTS had the potential to motivate communities to achieve ODF status.
So far so good − but then it goes on to say:
However, it did not create demand for “improved sanitation,” which, according to the Joint Monitoring Program, implies use of sanitation facilities “that ensure hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact. The surveyed communities were found using unimproved and unhygienic latrines without taking any substantial effort to upgrade or replace damaged latrines due to limited knowledge of different latrine options available at the household level.
So now we know what many of us had long suspected: the whole CLTS ‘process’ needs to be upgraded so as to ensure people get at least ‘improved’ sanitation. Actually what people need is ‘good’ sanitation and ‘improved’ does not necessarily mean ‘good’ (after all, ‘improved’ sanitation includes a “pit latrine with slab” − see here − and we’ve all seen hundreds of these that are far from satisfactory).