I am thankful to the F. Grainger Marburg Travel Scholarship, which made this research possible. This exploration provided me with an insightful opportunity to expand my knowledge beyond the research of the classroom and test my theories in real life practical situations. I was able to study the practices of people living in the Kathmandu Valley, the hills of Makwanpur and the ethnic groups residing in the Teri. Although I visited ethnic groups from different geographical locations with diverse values and traditions, all these ethnic groups shared a common thread of using rituals and cultural norms to find meaning in life.
I believe that even though CLTS had many positive aspects, the technique (used as a part of this program) called "triggering" in which people are made to feel ashamed of the fact that they are defecating in the open rather than in latrines is a gross violation of human rights. This subtly coercive strategy of triggering is widely used to induce of sense of humiliation and shame and thereby persuade people to build, use, and maintain the cleanliness of latrines. The CLTS methodology as used by organizations lacks a basic element of a democratic process which forms the basis of a human rights based approach to development. The Community Led "Total" Sanitation program is incomplete because it is missing many links that are pertiment for the program to truly reduce the spread of illness and disease in the long term. The initial community feedback on the graphics during the pretesting has been positive and I am encouraged by the results of the my research. I believe that visual communication when designed appropriately for communities can bring about sustainable behavioral change that can ultimately improve the health status and quality of life of people living in resource poor settings.
Some people may doubt the importance of visual communication as a learning tool. Visual communication that is built on what a community knows and values is a key link that could support positive behavioral change. There is no "one size fits" all approach to changing behavior and when people are encouraged to participate in the design and development of their own visual communication the results are likely to be more successful in the long term. Building on a community's background also allows their cultural values to be brought forward into the modern context. Even latrines are built for people, they may not use them if they don't believe in the product and they haven't been part of the process. Just as computer hardware will not work without software. latrines are just buildings until people see the resin for using and maintaing them.