Shit Matters: The Potential of Community-led Total Sanitation

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Lyla Mehta, Synne Movik
Practical Action Publishing, 2011 - Business & Economics - 270 pages
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Sanitation remains one of the biggest development challenges of our time, and a long-neglected issue associated with taboos and stigma. Despite growing attention and efforts, many top-down approaches to sanitation have failed, reflecting that simply providing people with a latrine or toilet does not necessarily guarantee its use. Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) which originated in rural Bangladesh in 2000 offers a more promising alternative, by focusing on facilitating a profound change in people's behaviour through participatory techniques. The approach has proven immensely successful. It is being implemented in at least 40 countries, and has the potential to address several Millennium Development Goals. However, like any development success story, challenges still remain regarding scaling up with quality, inclusion of the poorest, and sustainability. There is also a danger that accounts of success may be exaggerated.

This book addresses both the potential and challenges of CLTS by drawing on research in Bangladesh, India and Indonesia, as well as experiences from Africa. With chapters by leading scholars and practitioners in sanitation policy and practice as well as critical reflections from key players in CLTS, Shit Matters offers important insights into the workings of CLTS on the ground, covering the social, ecological, technological, financial, and institutional dynamics surrounding CLTS with wider lessons for sanitation policy and practice. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in development, health, and public policy.

`A "must read" for anyone who believes that a world in which over one billion people defecate in the open is a world not fit to live in.' Sanjay Wijesekera, Team Leader: Water and Sanitation, DFID

`Truly a vast oak tree has grown from a very small acorn. And Shit Matters tells the story extremely well.' Peregrine Swann, WHO Senior Adviser to GLAAS (The UN-Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water)

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About the author (2011)

Lyla Mehta is a sociologist working on water and sanitation. She is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex and a Professor II at the Department of International Environment and Development Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
Synne Movik is a post-doctoral fellow in Global Environmental Governance at the Department of International Environment and Development Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. She was previously an independent consultant in the field of water resources, working on water and sanitation issues with the Institute of Development Studies and the STEPS Centre at the University of Sussex, UK.

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