Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and Household-Led Water Supply (HLWS) are zero subsidy approaches to water and sanitation service provision that have been recently piloted in Zambia. The increases in access to sanitation and toilet usage levels achieved in one year under CLTS were far greater than any achieved in subsidised programmes of the past. Similarly, HLWS has shown that rural households are willing to invest in their own infrastructure and that they can increase coverage of safe water without external hardware subsidy. The promotion of self-sufficiency rather than dependency is a key component of both approaches, as is the focus on the development of sustainable services rather than the external provision of infrastructure. Zero subsidy strategies have the potential to deliver far more rapid increases in service coverage and higher levels of sustainability than the conventional subsidised approaches that predominate in low-income countries.
Keywords: rural, sanitation, water