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The national access to water and sanitation stands at 59.6% and 34% respectively (Nigeria Demographic Health Survey, 2013). Past approaches in implementing sanitation and hygiene programmes such as subsidy based promotional slabs, sani-centre operations, hand washing campaigns, among others, yielded little results in enhancing the national sanitation coverage. The shortcomings of these approaches led to the adoption of approaches such as Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and WASH in Schools to scale up access to improved sanitation and hygiene in the country. 

CLTS and its adaptations were piloted in Nigeria from 2004 to 2007 in several communities. The pilot interventions were carried out by several organizations such as UNICEF, WaterAid, State and Local governments in collaboration with the National Task Group on Sanitation. Based on the outcome, CLTS was adopted as a major approach for rural sanitation development in the government approved Strategy for Scaling up Sanitation and Hygiene to meet the MDGs in Nigeria (2007). The scaling up of CLTS in most states effectively commenced in 2008 coinciding with the International Year of Sanitation.

Institutional Arrangement
Major institutions supporting CLTS implementation in the country are: the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS), National Water Resources Institute, the State Task Group on Sanitation (STGS), the State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agencies (RUWASSA), the Local Government Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Departments or Units, the Community Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committees (WASHCOMs) and many Community Based Organizations. 28 States have established Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agencies; 24 States have LGA WASH Units while 7 States have WASH Departments.

The NTGS was established in 2002 under the direction of the Department of Water Quality Control and Sanitation of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources as a coordinating body and a national platform for the promotion of sanitation and hygiene in the country. Members are drawn from relevant Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (Education, Environment, Health, Housing and Urban Development, Water Resources, Women Affairs, NAFDAC, NPHCDA, NPC); Development Partners (UNICEF, DFID, JICA, World Bank, EU); CSOs (NEWSAN, Youth WASH, WASH Media Network); and the Private Sector (Unilever). The Group meets regularly; and facilitates as well as participates in national and international events on sanitation and hygiene.

There have been increased levels of subscriptions from governments at national and sub-national levels. The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is providing the required leadership in the promotion and advocacy for CLTS in the country in collaboration with other members of the NTGS for more funding from States and Local Governments to scale up CLTS implementation in the country.

Capacity Building
Over the years and with all the 36 states and FCT now implementing CLTS at different scales, close to 10,000 personnel at Local, State and Federal levels have undergone training or re-training on the approach. Also the capacity of over 10,000 Natural Leaders (NLs), Voluntary Hygiene Promoters (VHPs) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committees (WASHCOMs) had been built at the community level across the country. Some Natural Leaders are also engaged as Community Consultants to facilitate CLTS promotion in neighbouring communities.

ODF Certification
With the support of UNICEF, a Guideline for certification of ODF communities was developed and is being applied in all the states implementing CLTS. The certification process involves the participation of WASHCOMs at the community level, WASH Departments/Units at the Local Government level and; RUWASSA and STGS at the State level. Based on field observations, the Guideline was reviewed to increase the effectiveness of the certification process.

Third Party Certification
The acceptance of CLTS in the country led to many communities claiming ODF status which requires certification. The NTGS, with the support of UNICEF, introduced the third party certification and validation process which involves an independent body supporting the certification institution i.e the STGS, in the certification process.  This is followed by Third party validation: an independent body spot-checks and visits 10% of the total certified ODF communities in a State. This system was designed to instill credibility and transparency in the implementation and certification process. It also enhances the efficiency of triggering process, sustainability of communities’ ODF status and lower slippage rate.
Other innovations introduced into CLTS implementation include the Hygiene Improvement Framework (HIF) aimed at reducing high risk hygiene practices; development of technology options to address problem of difficult terrains e.g Ecosan and sanitation marketing to cater for the increased demand for sanitation services.

Roundtable Conference
To further sensitize all relevant stakeholders, share experience and document CLTS implementation in the country, regular National Roundtable Conference on CLTS are being held. Participants from different states in Nigeria comprise policy makers, technocrats from Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Media personnel, NGOs representatives and Natural leaders from communities. 

Policy Environment
Nigeria has a number of different water and sanitation policies and efforts are being made to harmonize all sanitation related policies into one national sanitation policy. Strategies developed at the national level include the WASH Communication Strategy and Strategy for Scaling up Sanitation and Hygiene to meet the MDGs in Nigeria (2007). As at November 2014, 13 States have approved WASH policies with many Local Government Councils having bylaws and edicts on sanitation.
A National Assessment of CLTS was conducted in 2011 to determine status of implementation and establish a database for CLTS in Nigeria. This assessment was conducted by NTGS with technical support from WaterAid and UNICEF. A strategy for achieving LGA-wide total sanitation was also developed to guide project interventions. A National Roadmap to eliminate open defecation by 2025 has been developed and the strategies for its implementation are being worked out.

As of August 2014, over 20,000 communities in 301 LGAs in 36 States are implementing CLTS. More than 12,000 communities have attained ODF with over 3,000 of them certified. Also 66 out of the 410 communities claiming total sanitation status have been certified as totally sanitized communities. An additional 894,998 latrines have also been built across the CLTS communities out of which 317,252 are improved technology options. However, efforts are being made to integrate CLTS data into the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Information Management System (WASHIMS), a real time database being developed with support from UNICEF. As of June 2015, data from 48 LGAs populated on the WASHIMS showed that 9,962 communities have been triggered, of which 4,255 are certified ODF and 1,864 are claiming ODF status.
A national CLTS Training Manual is being finalized as a guide for the development of skilled trainers and facilitators for CLTS implementation.


  • Lack of skilled facilitators for scaling up CLTS
  • Inadequate follow-up and monitoring by the LGA WASH units
  • Poor documentation, record keeping and reporting of CLTS outputs at the LGA and State level.
  • Weak political commitment
  • Slow pace in moving up sanitation ladder.
  • Large gap between number of triggered communities and number achieving ODF.
  • Relapse of ODF communities to OD status
  • Incentives for Natural Leaders

Efforts to address the challenges

  • Regular training and re-training of community facilitators
  • Institutional strengthening through technical assistance and logistical support
  • Enhanced follow up and monitoring through evidence based reporting
  • Development of an integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Information Management System (WASHIMS) for reporting and managing CLTS and other WASH data
  • Mobilization of resources for provision of sanitation facilities in institutions and public places to enhance attainment and sustainability of ODF in communities
  • Partnership and networking with CSOs and media to mobilize both financial and human resources for scaling up
  • Sustained advocacy and sensitization of policy makers
  • Introduction of sanitation marketing to address the increased demand for sanitation services
  • Establishment of latrine demonstration centres in challenging areas to address frequent pit latrine collapse and promote local, innovative and affordable solutions for construction of durable latrines
  • International and local exchange visits between countries, States, LGAs and Communities
  • Engagement of Natural Leaders as Community Consultants to facilitate CLTS promotion in neighbouring communities

(September 2015)