The UN seeks to eliminate the practice of open defecation entirely by 2025. Since its innovation in Bangladesh in 2000, Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) has spread to more than 56 countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America where more than 35 million people are now living in open defecation free (ODF) environments.
CLTS has also been mainstreamed in the sanitation policies of several African countries. More than 80 countries are now ODF. Still, 1 billion people continue to defecate in the open and 82% of them live in just 10 countries with India continuing to be the country with the highest number of people (597 million) defecating in the open. Nigeria has also seen the largest increase in numbers of open defecators since 1990, with 39 million people defecating in the open in 2012, compared with 23 million in 1990. It is well known that open defecation causes disease spread and also increases the vulnerability of millions of women and girls around the world.
Dr Kamal Kar, the pioneer of CLTS, will speak about the potential of the CLTS approach in achieving the sanitation MDG with a special focus on Africa. He will highlight the progress made by nations in running the last mile until December 2015 and will also discuss second and third generation challenges of CLTS such as sustainability, waste containment and the politics of scaling up. For the benefit of those who are not very conversant with the CLTS approach, he will also focus on its key principles and methodology.