Program Updates

Community Led Total Sanitation Workshops

Posted Nov 11, 2013

Two Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) workshops were held in the Ideas for Change project match in Wayúumana, Kasiche I, Kasiche II and La Parcela. The overall goal of the CLTS workshops is to show the communities that open defecation is creating an unhealthy environment where the community is surrounded by feces and urine that negatively affects their water sources, food and health.

The CLTS workshop consists of the following components:

• A walking tour with the community where members of the community show where they practice open defecation. During the tour, 20 questions are asked to the community about their general open defecation habits including what they use to clean themselves, how do they wash their hands and what happens if they are sick and have diarrhea.

• A community map is created. This map shows the houses of each family, main water sources (rivers, wells, etc.) as well as the open defecation locations for each family. After the map is completed, the community realizes that they are surrounded by feces and urine.

• Via a poster, the fecal oral route is explained, demonstrating the four ways of how feces can enter the body and cause diseases.

• The fecal oral route is reinforced by the glass of water and feces exercise. A glass of clean water is shared with some of the group members. Then a human hair is dipped into feces and then placed into the water. Now the glass of water is shared again, however, no one ones to drink it. The hair represents one leg of a fly that sits in feces and flies to food and lands on children contaminating both.

• The fecal oral route is also reinforced with the rice and feces exercise. A plate of feces and a plate of rice are placed next to each other. Some paprika is sprinkled over the feces. Soon flies are attracted and land on the plate of feces. After a few minutes, the flies go back and forth between the two plates. This exercise shows how food is contaminated by flies.

• The medical costs for being sick most likely related to the fecal oral route are calculated for a family in the community. The cost is calculated for one day, one month, one year and 10 years.

The CLTS workshop is at times an uncomfortable and difficult workshop for the community. Feces and open defecation related topics can be a sensitive and are often taboo. The CLTS workshop treats the topic directly and does not sugar coat it.

The results of the two workshops were fascinating. Some members of the community almost vomited due to the smell of the feces as we walked to certain open defecation locations. In general, most open defecation locations were about 30 to 50 meters away from the home.

Many families were not aware of the fecal oral route and that the fly can bring feces to their home. The total medical costs were also extremely high. Between the two workshops, the average amount of money spent by one family per year was 1,400,000 Colombian pesos ($780).

At the end of the workshop, the community was asked what they want to do now regarding the open defecation problem. Everyone wants to change the situation and wants to have an adequate latrine solution. This will require an organized community to operate and maintain the desired latrine solution.

One community member from Kasiche I, Dorila said: “I want to become more modern and change my [sanitation] habits by using a composting latrine.”

Stay tuned as this crucial implementation phase occurs in November and December.

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