Sustaining open defecation free status: the vital role of validation exercise

UNICEF-Nigeria in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR) and key stakeholders is implementing Community-Led Total sanitation (CLTS) to accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas with good success. Over 8,400 communities have been certified Open Defecation Free (ODF) across 21 States. Sustaining ODF status has never been so important to consolidate the initial success and moving up the sanitation ladder. 10% of randomly selected ODF certified communities are considered for the validation exercise. This exercise has reduced ODF relapse rates from 44% in 2014 to 11% in 2016. This has further improved the quality of CLTS facilitation and an increase in improved latrines. The resources spent on the validation exercise (US$ 6.4 per community) is much less than the funds (US$ 197) required to get the relapsed communities back to ODF.