Ensuring child safety during and after CLTS

News

By James (“J.”) Dumpert, Learning and Documentation Manager, WaterAid Cambodia

In Cambodia, the implementation of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) often involves children, who are encouraged to become change agents to help influence their family and community to improve sanitation and hygiene behaviours. However, some of these strategies may pose a risk to child safety.

Therefore, the WSSCC supported Cambodia Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Programme (CRSHIP) has conducted an “Evaluation of CLTS Triggering with Children in Rural Cambodia and Its Potential Impacts” to determine whether, and to what extent, this child protection risk is present as well as to identify recommendations that minimize the risk. Overall, the evaluation finds that there is a conceivable risk of harm to children who are singled out or “volunteered” by facilitators in public meetings to trigger parents/caregivers. For instance, the public shame and embarrassment felt by the parent could turn into anger or resentment toward the child, which could feasibly resort to physical or emotional mistreatment of the child.

To ensure that no child will be at risk within CLTS interventions, the following recommendations are proposed:

  • The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) should revise the National CLTS Guidelines and training materials to include child protection safeguards.
  • CLTS implementing agencies in Cambodia should review their child protection policies with partners to ensure that they are being appropriately implemented.
  • All programmes should cease the use of the strategy “Child Meets Their Parents/ Caregivers to Ask for Building a Latrine,” which asks children to individually trigger their parents/caregivers.
  • All programmes should continue to engage children in CLTS implementation using methods that empower their collective voice, such as using youth clubs to help plan community cleanup activities and disseminate sanitation and hygiene messages.

These proposals are further elaborated on in the Learning Brief (click here to download).