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This paper explores challenges and gaps in Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) gathered from constructive critical engagement with communities and practitioners from five African countries. 

The paper is based on a review of available literature on CLTS and indicative interviews with practitioners in five African countries. Its objectives include exploring how CLTS is implemented in Southern Africa and identifying challenges and gaps within CLTS and other participatory approaches.

NGOs, donors and governments have enthusiastically introduced CLTS measures over the last decade in over 26 African countries to address the continent’s seemingly impenetrable sanitation challenges. CLTS refers to the facilitation of the community’s own analysis of their sanitation profile, practices of defecation and their consequences.

The paper concludes that given the powerful role that CLTS is playing in Africa, more independent and critical research is needed. Two possible areas for research include the establishment of a Pan-African monitoring system and an in-depth study of successes using CLTS and mixed approaches.

This document is one of a number of publications highlighting NGO good practice and emerging issues from partner organizations supported by Oxfam in South Africa.

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