Community Led Total Sanitation

What is CLTS?

(Definition from

Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is an innovative methodology for mobilising communities to completely eliminate open defecation (OD). Communities are facilitated to conduct their own appraisal and analysis of open defecation (OD) and take their own action to become ODF (open defecation free).

At the heart of CLTS lies the recognition that merely providing toilets does not guarantee their use, nor result in improved sanitation and hygiene. Earlier approaches to sanitation prescribed high initial standards and offered subsidies as an incentive. But this often led to uneven adoption, problems with long-term sustainability and only partial use. It also created a culture of dependence on subsidies. Open defecation and the cycle of fecal–oral contamination continued to spread disease.

In contrast, CLTS focuses on the behavioural change needed to ensure real and sustainable improvements – investing in community mobilisation instead of hardware, and shifting the focus from toilet construction for individual households to the creation of open defecation-free villages. By raising awareness that as long as even a minority continues to defecate in the open everyone is at risk of disease, CLTS triggers the community’s desire for collective change, propels people into action and encourages innovation, mutual support and appropriate local solutions, thus leading to greater ownership and sustainability.

General ressources about CLTS

CLTS handbook in English and in French

CLTS knowledge hub ressources and tips for implementing CLTS

Key CLTS documents developped in the Solomon Islands

Community Led Total Sanitation in Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Red Cross and French Red Cross, adapted the Community Led Total Sanitation approach to the Solomon Islands context. Here are the documents that were produced:

Solomon Islands' Ministry of Health Rural Water, Sanitation (RWASH) official CLTS guides