Scaling Up Rural Sanitation is designed to learn about implementation and achieving results at scale with a focus on sustainability and replicability. The lessons we are learning and the body of knowledge we are developing will contribute to building a pathway for replication that will help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for sanitation by 2015.
Through the research being conducted in the field and the experiences the teams have as they implement the programs, which are then reviewed and integrated into new actions, we are learning more about what it takes to adapt Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) to a particular country context, what conditions are necessary to develop an enabling environment in order to effectively create local support, ownership and behavior change, what it takes to foster an institutional learning culture, and the ways in which awards, recognition and incentives can be used to trigger community action to become Open- Defecation Free (ODF). We are learning that progress towards becoming ODF can be objectively measured through performance benchmarking tools and that these tools can be useful to both monitor progress and provide assistance to communities.
Through formative research and market assessments, we now have a better understanding of the household misconceptions about what constitutes a true (safe) toilet and what are the social drivers to improved sanitation practices. We are learning about the differences in the “readiness” of different countries to replicate/adapt the Total Sanitation and Sanitation Marketing model to scale up rural sanitation. As a team, we are also learning how to learn and, more importantly, how to effectively capture this learning in the form of knowledge products to facilitate capacity building, broader understanding and replication.
The project learning strategy documents the key questions guiding the teams’ learning and details the process for generating, sharing, capturing, and disseminating knowledge about what works. This information will benefit current stakeholders but also future stakeholders who want to promote and implement effective, sustainable, large scale sanitation programs.
Scaling Up Rural Sanitation is conducting a comprehensive impact evaluation study to document the wide range of health, development, social, and economic outcomes that are believed to be influenced by fecal contamination. For example, there is important but only preliminary evidence that childhood diarrhea is an inhibitor of children's long-term physical and even cognitive development. If true, the child development benefits of reduced diarrhea may overshadow its already enormous health and mortality consequences and this study promises to yield scientifically valid evidence.
The impact evaluation will be run as a set of coordinated, community-randomized, controlled trials of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and Sanitation Marketing in two states in India, East Java in Indonesia, and 10 districts in Tanzania. In addition to collecting a broad range of indictators to allow an intensive study of sanitation's economic, developmental, and social welfare impacts, the project costs and the value of these diverse benefits will be closely examined. Research papers presenting findings will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals and evidence-based reports will be disseminated to government officials, stakeholders, and civil society.