Eight African countries are creatively achieving the goals of community led total sanitation programmes (CLTS) including one idea in Malawi where handwashing is monitored according to the health of tree seedlings planted beneath water outlets.
In Zambia several schools have established vegetable gardens to reduce malnutrition and improve school attendance. Some of the harvests have been sold raising funds for school activities.
In Sierra Leone men have traditionally been the community leaders but women are now being encouraged to play a major part in village committees and networks of natural leaders. To support CLTS women conduct house-to-house monitoring, giving health talks and reporting diseases –- many of them overcoming challenges such as illiteracy to maintain the programme.
Plan International’s five year Pan African CLTS (PAC) programme which ends in December, 2014, is operating in the eight countries of Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and Malawi, Ghana and Niger. With the backing of the Dutch government the project was designed to promote and scale up sanitation in communities and schools.