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Reflections on the CLTS Knowledge Hub’s Sharing and Learning Workshop

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I attended the 'CLTS Sharing and Learning Workshop' organised by the CLTS Knowledge Hub on 8th July, 2018 at Nakuru, Kenya – the day before the WEDC conference started. The workshop saw an interesting mix of participants including policymakers, practitioners, researchers and social entrepreneurs. Participants identified three broad themes for the day and then shared their experiences on these.

The themes were:
Reaching the last mile: Participants discussed a number of strategies for achieving inclusion. These included empowering local level actors such as community health workers; introducing financing mechanisms and products for challenging environments; adapting triggering process for vulnerable groups such as people living with disability (PLWD); and working with key influencers in conflict-affected areas.
Climbing the sanitation ladder: Mobaro Rogers from Kenya Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Program (K-SHIP) discussed the FINISH INK program wherein CLTS triggering is supplemented with financial inclusion (through sanitation loans) and sanitation marketing.
Learning and Knowledge management: Sheba Odondi from K-SHIP shared how a Facebook group comprising of various program stakeholders has helped in real-time exchange of challenges, good practices and peer-to-peer advice; which in turn has made immediate uptake of innovations and improvements in program strategy possible.

I really liked that the facilitators structured the workshop in a way that enabled  good participation and rich discussions among the attendees: I was particularly impressed to see the level of details in the discussions. For instance, when Makueni county's First Lady Nazi shared about the county's experience of working with community health workers, some of the questions raised by participants were related to minute details like compensation structure, source of funding for compensation etc. Often paying attention to these details may differentiate a strong program from an average one. Another highlight was the sharing of recent/ongoing research by participants towards the end of the workshop; which was followed by identification of knowledge gaps that emerged from discussions during the day.

Here are some of my reflections from the workshop:

  • Be willing to adapt. In order to ensure that no one is left behind CLTS techniques may need to be adapted to suit the local context. They may also be supplemented with other interventions such as financial inclusion, sanitation marketing, etc for achieving long-term impact.
  • Document and share. It is important to document processes, successes and failures; and even more important to exchange learnings and innovations across programs, organizations and nations.
  • There's still a long way to go. More research is required in order to achieve equity, inclusion, sustainability and scale. One such area is adapting approaches for various vulnerable groups or contexts (for example: PLWD, nomadic communities, emergency response situations).
Date: 30 August 2018