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Open Defecation (OD) is a huge risk to the health of children as well as the dignity of women in many parts of Afghanistan. High rates of child mortality due to diarrhoea and pneumonia as well as the risk of polio and high prevalence of stunting are threatening the lives and growth of children in the country. The prevalence of open defecation in the country is estimated at 19%, but in parts of the country it is as high as 82%. While around 80% of households make use of some form of traditional latrine facility, the national coverage of improved sanitation is only 39%.

The Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) was first introduced in the country by the Tear Fund in 2008 but later it was adopted in the country by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) and is called “The Afghan Context CLTS). The Afghan context CLTS not only aim for open defecation free communities but also ask people to improve their traditional unimproved latrines. Additionally, the approach in Afghanistan incorporated hygiene promotion activities such as training groups of men and women called Family Health Action Groups who then talk to other people at the community about hygiene. Since 2010 the country was able to declare over 1000 communities as Open Defecation Free. Out of those communities 89 were declared ODF in 2015. USAID funded project account for 611 ODF villages while UNICEF supported the MRRD to declare the rest. Some NGOs also tried implementing the CLTS approach in the country. The country developed a national plan to end open defecation by 2025.

(January 2016)