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.
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 facilities 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.