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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Best buys for Africa: Community-Led Total Sanitation

Fast-track Analysis

We analyze the economic costs and benefits of “Community-Led Total Sanitation” (CLTS), a sanitation intervention that relies on community-level behavioral change. We estimate the benefits and costs of implementing a CLTS program in a hypothetical rural district or administrative region of a country in Sub-Saharan Africa. This region is assumed to include 200 villages, and each village has 100 households with five members (two adults, two children between five and fourteen, and one child under five), for a total population of 100,000 people. The CLTS campaign is assumed to affect villages in the region differently. In some villages a large proportion of households will build and use latrines as a result of the CLTS intervention (high-uptake villages). In other villages a medium proportion of households will build and use latrines (medium-uptake villages). And in some villages only a small proportion of households in a village will build and use latrines (low-uptake villages). We make assumptions about the distribution of these three village types in the region based on recent research. Benefits and costs are calculated at the household level for each of these three village types, and then aggregated to the village and regional levels. We find that CLTS interventions would pass a benefit-cost test in many situations, but that outcomes are not as favorable as many previous studies suggest. If all villages in the region are considered, the benefit-cost ratio is 1.6.