In order to enhance the achievement of adequate coverage and impact of its activities RAWDP has mobilized 2 rural communities (where it currently works) in Imo State, Nigeria to achieve open defecation free (ODF) status. The Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) and Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) strategies are promoted. While PHAST is primarily a decision-support tool that uses ‘seven step’ participatory approach to facilitate community planning and action. The seven steps are: Problem identification, problem analysis, planning for solutions, selecting options, planning for new facilities and behaviour change, planning for monitoring and evaluation and participatory evaluation. It works on the premise that as communities gain awareness of their water, sanitation and hygiene situations through participatory activities, they are empowered to develop and carry out their own plans to improve this situation. The plans adopted may include both construction and management of new physical facilities as well as safer individual and collective behaviours. PHAST utilises specifically designed tools comprising of a series of pictures depicting local situations. Groups of people are asked to say how these relate to the local situation (but never to themselves directly) and what they would need to do to solve the problems that they have identified. When individual knowledge is required a process called pocket chart voting is used which allows the participants to vote in secret. The findings are then discussed by the group as a whole, but an individual never has to reveal their choice. CLTS on the other hand uses participatory rural appraisal (PRA) techniques to raise awareness of the risk that open defecation presents and to reinforce a natural sense of ‘disgust’ about the practice. The community members analyse their own sanitation profile including the extent of open defecation and the spread of faecal-oral contamination that detrimentally affects everyone. A variety of tools are used including: Focus group discussions transect walks, mapping of open defecation sites; and ‘shit’ calculations (that calculate the total weight of faeces produced and circulating in the community). These activities in tandem with our clean water project are currently going on in villages across the 2 communities.The aim is to create a healthier living environment for all especially children aged below 5 years.
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Imo State, NIGERIA,