Story and photos by CRS staff.


Access to improved sanitation facilities is a means of improving hygiene practices and thereby reducing acute adverse effect of open defecation such that of diarrheal diseases. Households and school children in Datu Montawal suffer from WASH-related illnesses and health uncertainties.

CRS’ WASH Governance Project in Mindanao aims to contribute to the development of improved WASH-related outcomes in targeted conflict-affected and disaster prone communities in Datu Montawal, Maguindanao through sustainable WASH interventions. It is recognized that behavior change and the role of the community and the local government play important roles in addressing water and sanitation insecurity and usage.

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The project’s strategy is in-line with and supports the Department of Health’s (DOH’s) promotion of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) as one of the country’s major strategies for scaling up rural sanitation. The approach focuses mainly on achieving sustained behavior change through motivation and mobilization of communities to understand and internalize the risks associated with open defecation, and to devise household and community-specific initiatives to eliminate open defecation and provide appropriate sanitation facilities for all members of the community.

As part of the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Governance project, CRS, Integrated Mindanaoan Association of the Natives, Inc. (IMAN) and Department of Health – Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, facilitated a three-day Community-led to Total Sanitation (CLTS) Training of Trainers in Kabacan, North Cotabato on April 4-6, 2017. A total of 24 participants attended, representing various municipal, barangay, community leaders and partners of the three targeted barangays. In result of the training, participants understood the concepts of CLTS and brought home with them valuable lessons and experiences in triggering and creating the demand to build their own latrines.

Zahara Kamid, Resource Person from DOH-ARMM shared the experience from South Upi. The LGU enforced each household to build their own toilet and penalized those who do not build. The penalty is then used to build latrine.

Leodefe Bundas, a barangay health worker of Barangay Limbalod is grateful for the opportunity given to her to participate in this CLTS training. As such, she will share what she had learned with her constituents to promote cleanliness. According to Leodefe, “as a BHW, I will start with myself to apply what I had learned to influence others to build their own latrines.”

Engineer Relan Ocumen has just started his term as Municipal Engineer of Datu Montawal Municipality and this has been his first time to personally get in touched with the community. After doing the simulation in Barangay Limbalod, Engr. Ocumen witnessed how important it is to have your own toilet and now aware that there are a lot of ways to build affordable latrines.

Based on the recent WASH Baseline survey, 81% of households do not have access to improve sanitation facilities. It is the vision of the constituents of Datu Montawal that by year 2020 they would be proud owners of their own latrines.


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