By Edmund Smith-Asante, ACCRA
|Washing of hands under running water is promoted under CLTS|
It has emerged that one of the major factors preventing the government from rolling out its plans to ensure proper sanitation in the country is the non-adherence of many of its partners to the subscribed guidelines developed by the government.
The CLTS approach seeks to eliminate the practice of open defecation and promote the use of improved latrines. It was to prevent partners in the sanitation sector from using different approaches in CLTS implementation that the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) developed the Rural Sanitation Model and Strategy (RSM-S) to guide its execution.
Also developed are a certification and verification protocol for quality assurance in open defecation free status, a Basic Sanitation Information System (BaSIS), as well as District CLTS scale up planning tools known as DROPs for the sector’s use.
Furthermore, guidelines for sanitation and marketing; micro financing and business solution to basic sanitation and strategies and tools for working with natural leaders have been developed, while work in the areas of technology and social norms support are ongoing.
All the listed interventions notwithstanding, the government says, “It has been realised that many partners, including government quasi institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and some international water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)-based organisations, do not implement their CLTS programmes in accordance with the above guiding documents.”
In a statement by the MLGRD to all WASH sector players titled "Worrying Developments in CLTS Implementation in the WASH sector", the government stated that the lack of implementation was in the areas of CLTS training, actual field implementation, monitoring and evaluation, as well as verification and certification.
Adding that the representation of partners on coordinating structures at both regional and district levels was a source of worry, the ministry urged all WASH sector players to strictly go by the national guiding strategies and guidelines, rather than project specific guidelines currently being used by some organisations.
“The MLGRD recognises that there are challenges in the CLTS implementation, however, taking shortcuts in implementation is not the way to go, as this will not lead to sustainable behaviour change outcomes,” the statement signed by the Chief Director of the ministry, Mr C. K. Dondieu, stated.
The ministry reminded all stakeholders that the 'No subsidy approach' was still in force, and called on all to, as a matter of urgency, streamline their implementation activities in line with the national guidelines and tools for CLTS implementation, and for strong collaboration with the WASH unit of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD) of the ministry.
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This was first published by the Daily Graphic on August 24, 2015