Celebrating the Sanitation Learning Hub’s new lease of life

For over ten years, IDS’s Sanitation Learning Hub (previously known as the CLTS Knowledge Hub) has been supporting learning and sharing within the international sanitation and hygiene sector, using innovative participatory approaches. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has recently awarded the Sanitation Learning Hub further funding for a four-year programme (2019-2023) so that the Hub can continue to support and strengthen the sector in tackling the complex challenges it faces in delivering universal safely managed sanitation by 2030.

For the next 10 years, the sanitation and hygiene sector will be focusing on supported the  achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2 – access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations, by 2030.  The rate of change and the complexity of the challenges the sector faces in reaching SDG 6.2 are considerable and increasing. There is a clear need for a flexible range of approaches, along with the ability to assess what approach (or combination of approaches) is suitable in diverse contexts.

Over the past few years, the Sanitation Learning Hub has responded to this challenge by broadening its focus to include an array of community-focused approaches, as an innovator within the sector. The Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach still plays an important part but is no longer the sole focus of the Hub, and a new, more encompassing name, the Sanitation Learning Hub, promotes and reflects this change in focus. Going forward, the thrust of the Hub’s work will be to promote timely, rapid and adaptive learning and sharing, alongside honest reflections of what works and what doesn’t.

The Hub will also be playing an important role in tackling essential emerging questions and issues within the sector such as:

  • How to achieve safely managed sanitation for all
  • The complex and different challenges of urban, peri-urban and rural settings
  • How to ‘Leave No One Behind’ in programming
  • The value of gender transformative approaches
  • How to strengthen supply chains in order to climb the sanitation ladder
  • Better understanding of the links between sanitation, hygiene and other endemic issues such as undernutrition
  • The need to prioritise hygiene practices, especially handwashing
  • How to tackle ‘slippage’ back to open defecation.

Jamie Myers, Research and Learning Manager, for the Sanitation Learning Hub said, ‘It is exciting to be able to explore different methods for research and learning that can yield timely, relevant and actionable results for practitioners working in sanitation and hygiene.’

Naomi Vernon, Programme and Communications Manager, notes that, ‘Reaching SDG 6.2 by 2030 is a huge challenge for the sector, but we hope that through working collaboratively with practitioners and policy makers across the WASH sector, we can find practical ways of learning from experiences and challenges, which feed directly into improving practice and policy.’

The Hub will continue to create much needed spaces in the sector that are designed to facilitate the reflection and co-generation of learning and innovation for stronger policy and practice. Key activities of the new programme will include:

For more information on the Hub’s methods, approaches and vision, you can read the Sanitation Learning Hub’s overview.