The key to introducing sustainable good hygiene and sanitation practices is to link such practices with social institutions, physical infrastructures, and government regulations and norms aligned with prevailing cultural and religious traditions. If there is no clash with accepted notions about the nature of water, foreign concepts of contamination and decontamination would likely be much more readily internalized. A community-led total sanitation intervention practiced by some civil society organizations in Nepal is one intervention with a great deal of potential that could be expanded to become part and parcel of existing belief systems.
COMMUNITY TOTAL LED SANITATION
The Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) methodology is designed to guide family community members to collaborate and work together to create an open defecation free environment. The approach does not rely on resources (inputs and expertise) from external stakeholders but rather builds on the internal capacity of local community members to analyze their own unique situation, draw on their own resources, and determine how best to promote good hygiene practices. This approach involves 10 key processes:
1. Community-led Total Sanitation Overview
2. Mapping Area Defecation
3. Calculating the Volume of Feces Produced by each Family
4. Calculation of Household Medical Expenses
5. Transect Walk
6. Diagramming Fecal-Oral Contamination Route
7. Correlation between Food/Water and Feces
8. Triggering/Igniting Exercise
9. Village ODF Planning/Family & Community Action Plan
10. Celebrating ODF Status/Achievement.
CULTURALLY SENSITIVE COMMUNITY TOTAL LED SANITATION
Culturally Sensitive Community-Led Total Sanitation (CSCLTS) differs from traditional sanitation interventions in that the basis of its design is a “hands-off’” approach. Rather than telling a community what it needs, CSCLTS enables all community members, regardless of status, ethnicity, gender, or age to make use of traditional rituals and cultural norms in order to work together in the creation of an open defecation-free environment. This approach builds on another successful methodology currently being implemented by some civil society organizations known as Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), but it adds an additional component that integrates cultural norms and values into the program.
The CSCLTS approach to sanitation is sustainable as it does not require large financial, material, or technical inputs from or the expertise of outsiders but instead builds on the internal capacity of the members of a given local community. Working together, they analyze local knowledge and create locally appropriate methods to manage human excreta and promote good hygiene and sanitation practices.