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UNICEF introduced the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach in Angola in 2008. The Ministry of Environment, with funding from the European Union (EU) and the Spanish Agency of International Development Cooperation (AECID), has since then been expanding the CLTS initiative to cover up to 11 provinces. A pilot project started in Huila province and then extended to Bié, Cunene and Moxico provinces, which are also areas benefiting from the Government’s Program for Improvement of the Health Services.

Learning from this initial experience, and with additional funding from the EU, the approach and the program was extended to six other provinces (Benguela, Kwanza Norte, Kwanza Sul, Malange, Uíje and Namibe).

The program covered a broad range of contexts, using two main implementation models, either through government structures or support from NGOs, and with special contributions progress on data monitoring, suggesting diverse outcomes across the target municipalities and provinces.

To date, the CLTS initative in Angola has targeted 44 municipalities within ten provinces (as illustrated in the map), where (until July 2015) 229 villages, out of 1,252, were officially declared Open-Defecation Free (ODF), reaching a total population of 1,242,856 people with this program.

Key Stakeholders and supporters of CLTS in Angola

Phase 1 involved several players, such as the Ministry of Environment, who has the overall responsibility for sanitation issues in the country, as well as local administrations, and different government directorates and NGOs (as implementing partners). NGOs were engaged through Cooperation Agreements signed with UNICEF, ensuring compliance with the terms agreed with the European Union (as a financial partner). The participating NGOs are: People in Need (PIN), working in Bié province, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and The Salvation Army (TSA) in Moxico province, and Ajuda do Povo para o Povo (Help from People to People) (ADPP) in Cunene province. Last but not least, a new partnership with the NGO ADRA was prepared to cover Huíla province in 2014.

The different local administrations and directorates represented in the provincial and municipal CLTS commissions play an important role in leading and facilitating the process.  Countrywide, the activities are coordinated by the National Technical Sanitation Unit (UTNSA) through the provincial CLTS commissions.

Funding for these activities came mainly from the European Union and UNICEF, with counterpart contributions from NGOs.  More recently, the Government of Angola (GoA) also budgeted US$ 1 Million for CLTS, to be accessed to through the Ministry of the Environment (MINAMB).

The institutional responsibility for the program is shared with other ministries, through an Inter-Sectoral Technical Group (GTI), especially during the monitoring of activities and certification of ODF communities. At provincial and municipal (even district) level, there are representatives of different government directorates distributed into sub-commissions, who, as per agreed protocols, may also take responsibility for the ODF certification process. The national CLTS paradigm suggested the Provincial Governors and Municipal Administrators to be CLTS Commission Coordinators, to strengthen the political will and commitment.

Social Mobilization, Training and Community involvement
The structure of the CLTS commissions at provincial level comprise three sub-commissions:  (I) Social Mobilisation, (II) Training of Trainers, and (III) Monitoring and Evaluation.

Social Mobilization

In most of provinces, the Social Mobilisation sub-commission is coordinated by the Health Directorate, due to the extensive network of Community Health Workers covering up to the village level. Because this group of people live in or close to the targeted communities, it favours the acceptance and inception of the CLTS approach, since they are well known in the communities they work with and have no need to travel long distances to reach them.

Training of Trainers

Through the cascade training model, the Training of Trainers Commissions in all provinces have trained 1,196 facilitators and 608 community mobilizers to date, to facilitate CLTS at the village level. This group works under the supervision of the NGO’s staff, together with provincial and municipal technical assistants. They handle the triggering of CLTS, and conduct the follow-up activities based on the number of villages assigned to each one of them, until each village is declared ODF.

The National Sanitation Unit established a rewards scheme for community mobilizers directly working in targeted provinces (not linked to any NGO), to increase their motivation and cover subsistence costs. At the time, as a short term arrangement, the costs were covered by the project funds, while finding ways to include the CLTS into the yearly government budgets.

Monitoring and Evaluation

This Sub-Commission is responsible for carrying out the pre-certification of villages meeting ODF requirements, prior to the arrival of the Certification Committee. The monitoring process follows a set of easily verifiable indicators such as coverage (number of existing latrines in relation to the number of families), latrine usage and maintenance, and operational hand-washing facilities. The certification process is based on an agreed protocol, where the provincial commission is mandated to certify if a village is ODF if the GTI/UTNSA representatives are not available. 

In order to improve the monitoring and visualization of data, GIS monitoring tools have been piloted in Bié province. One of the most important aspects of the program has been the development of mapping of CLTS in different villages, through web-based models (Google Earth), which monitor the progress of the communities from the baseline study to their ODF status.

Program results

Countrywide and to date, 1,252 communities have been triggered, and 1,242,856 people reached with CLTS in Angola. 229 villages have been officially declared ODF, with 219,785 people living in these communities.

Lessons learned

  • Proper planning and coordination between main stakeholders ( UE, UTNSA, UNICEF) produces better outcomes and harmonization;
  • Continuous consultation, at various levels, has proven to be valuable to expand and accelerate the CLTS program implementation;
  • To improve the approach’s effectiveness, it is crucial to consolidate and sustain the ODF status before expanding to new communities, and;
  • There is need for supporting and investing in post-ODF follow-up and monitoring actions, to sustain the goals achieved and promote continuous rural sanitation improvements.

Challenges to implementation and sustainability
A major challenge currently being faced is the lack of a well-developed and consolidated CLTS framework in Angola. At present, the implementation structure means that government staff involved in CLTS also have other responsibilities which restrict their availability to take CLTS implementation related actions. Moreover, the CLTS initiative was launched mainly with funds from external donors which poses an obvious threat to the sustainability of processes. However, the Ministry of Environment recently declared its intention of transforming the current program into a National Strategy for CLTS, which shows political commitment, empowerment and ownership, and has the potential of helping to consolidate and scale up existing efforts.

Way Forward
One of the major concerns raised during the 2014 CLTS review was the current lack of government financial support to sustain the ODF status achieved by communities, and for promoting improvements in rural sanitation at different levels (including development of sanitation markets). To tackle this issue, UNICEF, in partnership with the NGO People in Need, is piloting a capacity building and advocacy initiative with local authorities (provincial and municipal) for planning and budgeting for CLTS. This is expected to encourage local governments to include CLTS action plans and budgets in their provincial and municipal annual budget forecasts, to directly cover implementation costs in their territories. So far one municipality (Municipality of Nharea, Province of Bié) made the budget provision for CLTS within this fiscal year (2015), allocating USD25,000. There is a visible commitment from some municipal governors, and despite the current economic recession in Angola, more municipalities are expected to allocate resources to support CLTS in 2016.

(August 2015)