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Testing modified Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) for scalability

2011 - 2015 • Plan International, USA


The projects wants to improve the cost-effectiveness and scalability of the CLTS approach in Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana and worldwide.


Plan USA and its research partner, The Water Institute at UNC, are implementing a rigorous, research-based project with the overall goal of advancing global sanitation efforts by improving the cost-effectiveness and scalability of the CLTS approach. This goal will be pursued by collecting, evaluating, and disseminating practical lessons learned about overcoming common challenges to implementing CLTS at scale, based on applied research from pilot interventions in rural Kenya, Ghana, and Ethiopia.

In response to the primary challenge of costly, labor-intensive CLTS facilitation, our approach tests identified strategies to enhance the roles of local actors at the community, facilitator, and government levels in CLTS implementation. In line with the CLTS approach to address both supply and demand for sanitation, the project will generate sustained and community-led demand for improved sanitation along with basic levels of supply of sanitation solutions, to eliminate OD in the short term and achieve further sanitation improvements over time. By identifying ways to enhance the cost-effectiveness and scalability of the CLTS approach within a variety of contexts, it is anticipated that the proposed project will contribute substantially to the overall global efforts to address both the supply of and the demand for improved sanitation, and thus advance the achievement of the MDG for improved sanitation.

Countries of activity

Location of main activity


Objective 1: Learning. Plan and UNC designed and implemented applied research pilot projects that test solutions to locally-relevant global CLTS scaling challenges in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Kenya. Plan International has implemented CLTS for several years in each of these countries; based on this knowledge and analysis of existing barriers to implementation at scale, the pilots were designed to address three strategic challenges. The project applies experimental research standards and deliberate project design guidelines to test modified CLTS methodologies for local actor engagement that address these challenges, in a manner that will allow the partners to evaluate, document, and disseminate its experiences and innovations.

Objective 2: Capturing. The collection of knowledge, tools, and lessons learned is a central activity of the project, and is conducted with the extensive support of researchers at UNC. This includes the systematic capture and evaluation of results from the pilot interventions, supplemented by innovations and expertise from Plan International’s global CLTS experience. UNC also supports Plan in conducting a broad literature review, and collecting and developing standardized metrics for sanitation programming.

Objective 3: Sharing. We disseminate the knowledge collected and the results of the research pilots to internal and external practitioners and researchers in the sanitation sector. Specific dissemination activities will include publication of research pilot results, exchange visits among pilot countries, publication of knowledge collected (leading practices, methods, tools, case studies, etc.) through both traditional publications and web-based resources, and coordination of learning events at the regional and global levels

Further information

Research or implementation partners: The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina, Plan Kenya, Plan Ethiopia, and Plan Ghana

Filter tags

Behaviour change Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Capacity development Community sanitation Enabling environment and institutional strengthening Health and hygiene International NGO Practitioners Rural Rural areas Specific to one or several countries Sub-Saharan Africa


Plan International
Nairobi, Kenya
United Kingdom

Plan is a Child Centred Community Development organisation: they work with children, their families, communities, organisations and local governments to bring about positive change. Plan's work is linked to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which spells out the human rights of all children.

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Elisabeth von Muench (Elisabeth)

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