Darren Saywell is Senior Director for the Water, Sanitation and Health Practice with Plan International USA, an international NGO with a presence in more than 70 countries around the world. For the past four years, Plan International has teamed up with the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina on “Testing Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Approaches for Scalability,” an operational research initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project has conducted extensive analysis on the role and effectiveness of local actors in community-led total sanitation (CLTS) in 10 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It has collected hard evidence that attests to the methodology’s effectiveness in enabling large-scale sanitation behavior change. In this conversation with Global Waters Radio, Saywell talks about the key findings of the project to date and discusses why it is critical for the sanitation sector to replace anecdotal evidence on CLTS’ effectiveness with rigorous evidence.
“CLTS works, and we have strong evidence for it,” Saywell says, citing the project’s on-the-ground research in Ghana and Ethiopia in particular. The data, he continues, “is all statistically significant, and that’s really a first for the WASH sector.” Saywell suggests these findings may possibly help chart new ground for the sanitation development sector in the coming years. For additional materials produced by the “Testing CLTS Approaches for Scalability” project — including implementation guides, policy briefings, and videos — please visit the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina or Plan International USA.
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