Blog Action Day: Water, Sanitation and Community


Vast amounts of money have been spent on aid in Bangladesh, among other things on water and sanitation, often with disappointing results. What if the power of money isn’t what brings change, but rather the power of community?

The Community-Led Total Sanitation approach taps that power. It rules out subsidies, and uses facilitators from the broader community (i.e. Bangladeshi, not foreigners). It uses grassroots techniques to raise consciousness of the effect of poor sanitation, and motivates the community to fix its own problems – and it works. Open defecation is now seen as unacceptable, and the environment and local water supplies are cleaner and safer as a result. It’s designed by a Bengali water expert, and supported by a Western agency, WaterAid, but does not look like a conventional foreign aid project.

Community participation is not a panacea, but it’s essential to effective aid.

Community is also how Appropedia works to create a knowledge trust for a just and sustainable world. But I’m being dragged away from the computer, so more on that another day.

Related wiki articles:

Part of Blog Action Day.