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The West African Regional Sanitation and Hygiene Symposium was organized by IRC and RCN Ghana, with support from WAWI, UNICEF, WaterAid and WSSCC from 2 to 6 November 2009. It was a bi-lingual regional event with over 120 participants from Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Togo, Benin, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Mauritania, Cameroon, Europe and the USA. The Francophone - Anglophone mix of the symposium was a great success and was appreciated by all, especially since it was found that the level of sharing experiences and learning between Francophone and Anglophone West African countries is quite low.
CLTS is being tried out in almost all countries in the region and was an important and prominent discussion topic. Main points of discussion were how to ensure sustainability of behaviour change, moving up the sanitation ladder, and the issue of shame being a very negative approach according to some people. The importance of humour was underlined in this context, especially where discussing sanitation issues is a taboo. Another big discussion item was how to marry CLTS with ecosan.
While CLTS convinces people that shit and urine are dirty and dangerous, ecosan tries to convince people to then use this dirty shit to grow food. It was agreed that a CLTS/ecosan project should be tried out, where the two are introduced together. Other discussion topics included sector coordination, urban sanitation, school sanitation and sustainability of hygiene promotion and behaviour change. For more information contact Carolien van der Voorden at firstname.lastname@example.org.