Ninety-two percent of Afghanistan's nearly 30 million people do not have access to proper sanitation. This has placed the country at the top of the list of "the worst places in the world for sanitation." About 25 percent of under-five children in Afghanistan are affected annually by diseases originating from poor and/or bad sanitation. In order to help address this problem, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Afghanistan are investing in projects that improve access to drinking water and proper sanitation.
A new approach, Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS), is currently being applied by USAID in six provinces in Afghanistan. The approach, developed by an Indian social scientist, is being utilized in about two dozen countries with notable results. The CLTS approach supports communities to build or improve safe, unsubsidized latrines, eventually leading the communities to stop the practice defecation without sanitation facilities. USAID’s project is the first to implement this community-initiated sustainable hygiene and sanitation program. Approximately 114 people have been trained on CLTS approach in seven provinces. Now these trained Afghans are working to sensitize residents to maintain improved hygiene and sanitation; helping to improve the overall health of their communities.