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Reflections from the Pan Africa project annual review meeting in Lilongwe (Day 1)

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From the 11th to the 15th March 2013, the third annual review meeting of Plan’s Pan African programme Empowering self-help sanitation of rural and peri-urban communities and schools in Africa took place in Lilongwe, Malawi. Participants from 7 of the 8 programme countries as well as representatives of the partner organisations (Plan Netherlands, IRC and IDS) spent the week discussing progress of the 5 year project as well as key emerging issues, questions and next steps. The results of the project’s 2012 mid term review were also presented and gave food for thought for adjustments and priorities for the remaining 2 years of the programme.

Here are some participants' reflections on Day 1

Mary Namwebe, CLTS Project Coordinator, Plan Uganda

Today was an exciting first day of the Pan African CLTS Review meeting in Malawi, a total of seven Plan International country offices, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Zambia shared progress on their CLTS programs.
What was outstanding is that all countries are on track in terms of project targets, that’s to say number of triggered and ODF villages reached. Furthermore there has been strong mention of the involvement and participation of children in CLTS and SLTS activities which has contributed to the attainment and sustainability of ODF status. One striking case is where a ten year old child in a Plan Kenya supported area after SLTS triggering went back home and constructed a latrine at their home.
Another issue that came out in Plan Uganda and Plan Zambia presentations was the relevance of providing access to safe water in ODF communities as a means of ensuring that community members sustain the ODF status.

Sifaya Simulekwa, WATSAN Project Coordinator, Plan Zambia

Today, the 11th of March 2013 has been a fully packed but fruitful day at the 3rd Pan-African CLTS Annual Review Meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi. The day started with an exciting participatory self-introductory session outside the conference room. This was followed by discussions in two groups comprising members of the Pan-African CLTS program who have been in the program for longer and those who have been in the program for the first time. The exercise involved those who have been in the program longer discussing what they felt they could be able to share with their new colleagues whereas those who are new discussed issues they wanted to know regarding the Pan-African CLTS project. Among the questions asked were

  • the criteria used to confirm a school Open Defecation Free,
  • challenges that have been encountered working with partners,
  • key players in community mobilization,
  • how people with special needs are taken on board in the program,
  • mechanisms towards CLTS volunteer retention,
  • CLTS in emergencies, and
  • the impact of CLTS on hygiene behaviour.

The team that has been longer in the program wanted the newer team to know that there has been a lot of communication and networking within program countries and different stakeholders. The profiles of Plan, IRC and IDS have been raised as a result of working in the Pan-African program. The new team also needs to have a clear understanding of action learning and issues surrounding sanitation marketing in the program. The program has also been able to critically look at issues of monitoring, sustainability and impact of CLTS.

Plan Malawi’s Country Director in her opening remarks asked the team to seriously consider the following issues;

  • How CLTS can be made a cross-cutting issue
  • How sanitation impacts on gender, health, livelihood and learning
  • Reflect on beyond CLTS issues.

Country presentations were made by seven out of the eight Pan-African CLTS program countries: Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana and Zambia. Marielle from IRC highlighted key lessons learnt from the Pan-African CLTS project.

From the presentations, it was clear that a lot was happening in the Pan-African CLTS project as was evidence from the reports. Key issues however, that need further discussion that arose from the presentations include linking CLTS to micro-finance, harmonization of checklists and ODF monitoring indicators, and land ownership in the context of urban CLTS.

It was overall a very wonderful day full of new learnings.

Date: 16 March 2013
Pan Africa,
Sierra Leone,