Training trainers paves the way to rural sanitation

Training trainers paves the way to rural sanitation

Laos will soon have more experienced Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) master trainers available. This is necessary, as there are currently only three master trainers in Laos, too few to scale up existing approaches to improve the country's rural sanitation. Therefore SNV, Plan International, World Bank’s WSP and UNICEF, in collaboration with Nam Saat, set up a roadmap to train up to fourteen additional CLTS master trainers by the end of 2015.

With an eye on long-term sustainability, the development partners in Laos also would like to see a higher number of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) trainers from the government itself. CLTS is an innovative approach to achieve and sustain Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. Originally developed in Bangladesh, CLTS entails the facilitation of a community’s analysis of their sanitation situation, their defecation practices and the consequences of these, leading to collective action to become Open Defecation Free.

The basic assumption is that no human being can stay unmoved once they have learned that they are ingesting other people’s faeces. Generally communities react strongly and immediately try to find ways to change this through their own effort. If done well, CLTS can end open defecation and generate demand for improved sanitation. CLTS has earned much praise around the world and is being used more and more in Laos. Years ago, SNV and the World Bank's Water and Sanitation programme were the first to test a CLTS based approach and tools in Laos and to adapt them to the local context.

Since September 2012, SNV, Plan International, the World Bank’s WSP and UNICEF pooled technical and financial resources for joint support to Nam Saat in scaling up rural sanitation. The two main goals were to harmonise demand creation approaches through CLTS (which included the development and dissemination of a national CLTS manual for facilitators and a training manual) and to increase the pool of CLTS facilitators and trainers.

Together, these development partners also have now agreed on a road map to certify CLTS Master Trainers by the end of 2015. Potential CLTS Master Trainer candidates will be invited by the Centre of Environmental Health and Water Supply (Nam Saat) based on recommendations from the existing Master Trainers, Nam Saat, and other organisations and agencies practising CLTS in Lao PDR.

The selection will consider equitable representation from northern, central and southern regions in Lao PDR to ensure that increasing the number of facilitator trainings can be done effectively at regional levels. Selected candidates have to go through three stages:

  1. Stage 1 – CLTS ToT workshop (3 days)
    This was the first part of becoming a “CLTS Master Trainer", and was already held at central Nam Saat. The three-day workshop reviewed all preparation and facilitation skills necessary for conducting CLTS facilitator trainings in the future. This training focused on the main areas of: a) understanding the principles of BCC and CLTS approaches, b) understanding the role of effective community facilitators (changing attitudes and behaviors of trainers); c) utilizing CLTS facilitation methodologies and IEC materials (i.e. connecting games and meta cards) and d) post-triggering, ODF, and post post-ODF methods and practices while integrating hygiene promotion campaigns into follow up visits. Successful candidates proceeded to Stage 2.

  2. Stage 2 - CLTS Facilitator Trainings (5 days)
    The second stage for becoming a “Master CLTS Trainer” requires the Master Trainer candidates to organise and conduct CLTS trainings on their own. These trainings are held in their respective provinces or regions and work with CLTS as their primary sanitation improvement methodology. The trainer candidate teams are accompanied by one of the already established CLTS Master Trainers in Laos to provide technical assistance as necessary and to rate each trainer on their performance, based on a standard set of trainer criteria. The criteria will cover trainers’ preparation, facilitation techniques, timing, and overall communication skills in conducting the CLTS trainings. Successful candidates may proceed to Stage 3.

  3. Stage 3 – Evaluation and experience sharing workshop (3 days)
    At last, there is an additional three day workshop (at Central Nam Saat) with the core Master Trainers, candidates, Nam Saat representatives, and representatives from each organisation or agency that sponsored the Master Trainer candidates. This workshop includes the review of the candidates' performance during stage 2, provide a forum for collective and individual feedback and assess additional training skills that may be needed according the individual (or group) needs. Planning for next year's CLTS ToT and CLTS facilitator training (and additional candidate trainer needs) is also part of the workshop.

Nam Saat will award Master Training certificates according to agreed designation levels.