Community Led Total Sanitation
 
Last week, with a team of Mr. Chuma, Mr. Msowoya, Mr. Maswaswa, Mr. Jella, Mr. Dambula, and myself, we implemented CLTS in four villages: Alick Ndabandaba, Mmbocho Malindi, Chapuma and Chinganyama Nkhata, Yelemiya Shumba. We intended to trigger five villages but last Monday there was a terrible accident where a truck rolled over killing 13 people instantly. Two of the people killed were from the village Chikondawanga Lusale and on Tuesday when we went for CLTS we found that most of the villagers had gone to the funeral so the facilitators changed the plan and decided to give ‘civic education’ to the few villagers in attendance. The civic education was basically a lecture style approach to raising the community’s awareness and encourages them to practice ‘good’ sanitation. I’ll admit, to me the civic education principles seem archaic compared to CLTS where the idea is that the community has the ability to come to their own awareness and in doing so, there is more incentive for them to change their behavior. But I am just a punk white girl wearing a chitenje trying to understand my place in the chaos that is international development…
 
 
Anyways, CLTS looks pretty frickin’ cool. After the introductions and regular formalities, the facilitators asked the community members to mark out a map of their village. Once the main landmarks like households, borehole/water source, churches, schools, etc. were laid down using squares of paper, the community members were given sand to mark bush areas, ash to mark latrines, and finally sawdust to mark open-defecation areas. In each village, the mapping process generated an enthusiast and jovial community response and there was a great deal of laughter once they started spreading the ‘shit.’ Following the mapping, the ‘shit calculation’ was done beginning with an estimation of the number of grams or cups a person shits in a day, then a week, a month, and a year. This was then translated into grams/household or cups/household and finally grams(or cups)/village/year. The shit calculation spurred a great deal of laughter amongst the community members, especially when the total was compared to the size of a person. At this point, no one showed signs of disgust; it just produced a good laugh. 
Following this, the facilitators asked to walk around the village and visit the open defecation areas. When a fresh piece of shit was found, which didn’t take long, we stopped and stood and stared at the shit making the community members awkward. After a period of time passed, one of the facilitators would try to demonstrate the fecal-oral transmission route by (1) using a water bottle and asking if anyone wanted a drink. After a couple had sipped the water, the facilitator would then take a piece of grass wiped it on the shit and dipped it into the water. He then asked if anyone would like to drink the water now, they did not. He inquired why not, to which people responded because there is shit in it. Or (2) by placing nsima and relish beside a piece of shit and letting the flies illustrate the route. Flies would move from the shit to the food and the villagers began to realize that because of open defecation they were eating shit. Following questions and inputs from the villagers, the communities appeared to be ‘triggered’ and identified that they were ingesting their own and their neighbor’s shit. The people who were first to acknowledge this were called to the front of the group to repeat their thoughts and were clapped for. After this, they began to make plans to build latrines, to have this area be clean and shit free within a week, to assist widows, the elderly, the poorest villagers in the construction of latrines. They were then given two pieces of flip chart paper to produce an action plan. We returned to the village were Mr. Dambula informed the village that a few members, the natural leaders who were identified during the triggering process, would be invited to attend a meeting the following week to share their insights and the progress of the village. The workshop then ended with an energizer and a prayer.
 
This process was followed in each village but, of course, each village varied on their reaction. From my perspective, Mmbocho Malindi showed the greatest signs of disgust and agitation. The villagers became vocal quickly and were covering their mouths and noses from the stench. From translated responses I received during the process in each village, it seemed that all of the four villages came to the realization that they were eating shit and that open defecation had to end. 
 
I never knew a day of seeking out shit could be so exciting! 
 
colleen.
 
PS- Sorry, this may be a bit of a ramble so let me know if any areas need clarification.