“Kinsa sa inyo ang naay kasilyas?, Asa ba kamo naga-tae diri?, and Pila ka sako ang inyong tae diri kada tuig?” (Who among you has toilet?, Where do you shit?, and How many sacks of shit do you produce in a year?)

When you hear a person ask the first two questions, you will probably think he/she wants to use a toilet to relieve himself/herself; while hearing the third question is somewhat unusual and might cause shock, laughter or outrage. However, these questions form part of the new sanitation approach called Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) pioneered by Dr. Kamal Kar, an independent development consultant from India.

Kar developed this approach during his evaluation of a traditional water and sanitation program in Bangladesh in 1999. The approach had spread to Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific. CLTS is now reportedly used in over 40 countries, although so far on a limited scale.

In the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) adopted the CLTS approach under its National Sustainable Sanitation Program (NSSP) through DOH Administrative Order No. 2010-0021 dated June 25, 2010. In support to this program, the Mahintana Foundation, Inc. (MFI) through the European Union (EU)-supported Health and Economic Alternative (HEAL) Project, in coordination with the Provincial Health Office of Sarangani, conducted a 4-day Training of Trainers (ToT) on CLTS last 10-13 May 2011 at IML Ecopark, Barangay Lumasal, Maasim, Sarangani Province.

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