UNICEF uses the term Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) to encompass a range of different community-based sanitation programmes. The aim of these approaches is total sanitation which means the complete separation of wastes from humans, i.e. no open defecation and 100% of excreta to be hygienically contained. An important goal for villages and other communities is to achieve open defecation free (ODF) status. Box 21.2 summarises the key elements of CATS.
Box 21.2 Essential elements of Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS)
- CATS aim to achieve 100% open defecation free (ODF) communities through affordable, appropriate, acceptable technology and behaviour change.
- CATS depend on broad engagement with diverse members of the community, including households, schools, health centres and traditional leadership structures.
- Communities lead the change process and use their own capacities to attain their objectives.
- Subsidies – whether funds, hardware or other forms – should not be given directly to households.
- CATS support communities to determine for themselves what design and materials work best for sanitation infrastructure rather than imposing standards.
- CATS focus on building local capacities to enable sustainability.
- Government participation from the outset – at the local and national levels – ensures the effectiveness of CATS and the potential for scaling up.
- CATS have the greatest impact when they integrate hygiene promotion into programme design.
- CATS are an entry point for social change and a potential catalyst for wider community mobilisation.
The next section describes two particular approaches to community motivation that are becoming increasingly popular throughout the developing world.