Stories from the field: accelerating CLTS through volunteer groups in Nigeria

Date: 24th August 2018

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WASHCOM members supporting latrine construction in Logo LGA, Nigeria. Credit: United Purpose


The RUSHPIN programme is scaling-up a successful formula for building an army of CLTS facilitators, which relies on supporting groups of Natural Leaders to deliver ODF communities much faster, cheaper, and more sustainably than through implementing partners alone.

The process works like this: first, once ODF status has been achieved (or close to being reached) in a community, Natural Leaders are organized into Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Committees (WASHCOMs). Next, WASHCOMs from several communities are encouraged to form ward-level groups, which give themselves an official name and take the lead on CLTS activities across their ward. Finally, once these groups deliver on achieving ODF status in all communities in their own wards, the local government WASH Unit engages them to support other wards achieve ODF status. They are then paid an allowance only when they have delivered independently verified results.

In Logo Local Government Area (LGA), there are now seven volunteer groups, each ranging from 5-13 persons.  Together, they have now triggered 309 communities, of which 262 are currently ODF.  The local government WASH Unit, the principle implementing partner, now focuses on monitoring, quality control, and post-CLTS trainings of WASHCOMs formed after ODF status is achieved.

This approach has several advantages. First, these groups perform better; despite only emerging in 2016, these volunteer groups triggered nearly half of all communities in Logo LGA, and have reduced the average time for attaining ODF status from 3 months to 6 weeks. Second, these groups operate at far lower cost than local NGOs. Third, volunteer groups ensure that remote communities are reached more consistently and effectively; volunteers ‘camp’ within remote communities for several days to provide the necessary support, rather than commuting back and forth. Finally, these groups help build a strong foundation for sustainability, as they have been reported to frequently revisit communities to detect and resolve slippage when it occurs.

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