Sanitation approaches – evidence from Nigeria

Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) is a popular approach to increasing sanitation coverage. CLTS is often understood to be more suitable for small, rural and homogeneous communities, however it is also considered an appropriate solution for more urbanised areas.

9 Jun 2016
Supporting improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services for urban poor and vulnerable communities is significantly more challenging than for rural poor communities. Urban technologies are usually more complex and always costlier; land ownership and security of tenure is often more uncertain. Communities are less homogenous and the stakes are higher for the government both politically and economically.

Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) is one popular approach to increasing sanitation coverage. CLTS works with an entire community to identify the negative effects of poor sanitation, especially the practice of open defecation, and empowers them to collectively find solutions. 

This brief provides quantitative evidence to support the use of CLTS in urban areas, and suggests a simple rule of thumb that allows more efficient programme targeting. Using this information can improve the targeting of CLTS in Nigeria, and possibly other countries, freeing up scarce resources to identify and test complementary sanitation approaches suitable for more urbanised communities.

Download the report > 


Triggerability deep dive report 

The ‘deep dive’ (i.e. market research) was undertaken as part of the Sanitation Marketing component of the Sustainable Total Sanitation (STS) project in Nigeria. Qualitative field research was completed to understand consumer preferences (consumer = household members needing a toilet) and commercial supply chains for rural sanitation in the STS project states (Ekiti, Enugu, Jigawa). The aim of the deep dive was to help us understand both the consumer side and the goods and services businesses related to sanitation.

The goals of this formative research were to:

  1. Inspire product and business model designs 
  2. Inspire communications and marketing plans

Four core research questions within the market research:

  • What is a ‘good latrine’ for our target market? What features should it have (and not have) and how much should it cost
  • What will our target market gain personally from investing in a ‘good’ latrine? 
  • How can we make the process of learning about, purchasing and installing a good latrine a lot easier, quicker and more reliable
  • How can businesses deliver sanitation products and services that offer value for money and are profitable for them to produce and sell on their own?


In May 2016, WA attended the WASH Futures Conference in Brisbane, Australia. Drawing from knowledge WaterAid has gained as part of the Sustainable Total Sanitation (STS) project in Nigeria, two posters were presented together with the Institute for Fiscal Studies, investigating how to improve targeting and outcomes of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and exploring how we can accelerate sustainable sanitation coverage to achieve universal access by 2030.

How can we accelerate sustainable sanitation coverage in Africa's most populous country? Download poster > 

Improving targeting and outcomes of CLTS in Nigeria. Download poster >