11 differences between urban and rural CLTS

Last week, African Ministers spent the week at the AfricaSan4 conference discussing the urgent need for better progress on Sanitation and Hygiene on the continent. They signed up to a new vision (the Ngor Declaration) in line with the likely UN ‘Sustainable Development Goal’ due out later this year, to achieve universal access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and eliminate open defecation by 2030.IMG_7312

It is great to see an update of the commitments made at a similar meeting back in 2008. Clearly, a ‘focus on the poorest, most marginalised and unserved’, must include the needs of poor people living in urban slums alongside their rural counterparts. However, there is precious little experience in ‘eliminating open defecation’ in urban slums. This will be a huge challenge that should not be under-estimated.

Over the last three years, Practical Action and Umande Trust have been working in two big informal settlements in Nakuru, Kenya, on an ambitious project to transform the sanitation situation. The aim was to declare two thirds of the 13 ‘villages’ within two big low-income settlements (population approximately 190,000) as Open Defecation Free. In these areas, the majority of residents are tenants, living on plots with 10-20 rooms (sometimes up to 50). While almost all of these plots had some form of toilet, their quality was so poor, and their numbers woefully inadequate to count as ‘adequate’ sanitation.

At the end of the project, we worked with the CLTS Foundation reflect on how we had adapted the usual CLTS process for the challenges of an urban context. The report highlights the greater scope of action required in urban contexts because of the importance of better-quality toilets, and the need for safe faecal sludge management. It explores the whole range of stakeholders who need to be involved from tenants and landlords, to pit emptiers, builders, banks and micro-credit, different levels of government, the local water and sewerage utility company, and many more.

Here are the 11 key differences we found between rural CLTS, and this urban context.

Rural Urban
1. Low toilet coverage and strong preference for or habit of OD High toilet coverage but they are highly unsanitary. OD is out of necessity rather than preference or habit.
2. Majority of households own land on which they can build their toilets Most households are tenants and have to rely on landlords to provide sanitary toilets. However, it is tenants’ role to maintain them well.
3. A single triggering aims to reach whole population Two types of triggering exercises are needed: one for landlords and one for tenants
4. The triggering methodology is principally based on eliciting feelings of shame and disgust to motivate behaviour change. The triggering methodology with landlords is based more around obligation and threat of legislation. Eliciting disgust is still a motivating factor in triggering with tenants.
5. The key challenge is triggering behaviour change to break the long held habit of open defecation. The key challenge is ensuring adequate provision and maintenance of facilities. Open defecation is no longer a habit but an outcome of poor facilities.
6 Once a toilet is full, there is usually space to build more within the household compound. Space is limited and density of population is high resulting in the need to dispose of faecal sludge outside the plot once toilets fill up.
7 Households can build very basic low cost toilets, starting and the lowest rung of the sanitation ladder if they choose. There are often regulations about the standard of toilets substructure and the superstructure. Negotiation with authorities can be an important aspect of intervention.
8 Households can usually finance low cost toilet building without external finance. Landlords often require external finance in order to be able to adequately upgrade sanitation facilities. This may require negotiating a loan facility, whether through banks or a community fund.
9 There are few stakeholders external to the community who have an influence on sanitation provision. There are several stakeholders involved, such as tenants, landlords, planning department, public health officials, water and sewerage companies.
10 As there are few stakeholders involved, the intervention process can be relatively fast. Due to the regulatory environment and the number of stakeholders involved the intervention process, even before any triggering takes place, can take quite long.
11 Natural leaders and community consultants are key players in driving and scaling up CLTS In this particular urban context natural leaders and community consultants were not developed as Community Health Volunteers already existed.

 

2 responses to “11 differences between urban and rural CLTS”

  1. A O Williams Says:

    Thank you for sharing this It would be nice to also hear your perspective and experience in the urban with regards to such critical elements as social coherence, peer pressure, size of the community especially that you suggest one triggering session each for land lords and tenants. Working with extension workers already in the communit is good I. Would like to know how they were remunerated, if they were paid anything beyond their salaries and allowances from the government

  2. Lucy Stevens Says:

    Thanks for your comments. To get a more detailed picture, please do take a look at the full report: http://bit.ly/uclts_pakenya. The informal settlements here were large with a total of about 190,000 people – but they are broken down into sections referred to as ‘villages’. We organised sessions at this level – so we held multiple sessions for landlords / tenants to cover the whole area. There is social cohesion in an urban context, but that social cohesion may be geographically dispersed. You may have very close links with friends and relatives, perhaps through churches or savings groups, but maybe not with all your neighbours living on the same plot, because people do move about between rented rooms as their economic and family circumstances change. Peer pressure can be important all the same. I’m not sure exactly how the community health volunteers are renumerated – but I can check with the project team and get back to you.

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