Achievement of adequate and equitable access to sanitation for all, and an end to open defecation, requires that special attention is given toward disadvantaged groups. It has become apparent that the benefits of conventional rural sanitation programming and service delivery are often not spread equally, and risk leaving disadvantaged groups behind. This issue of Frontiers of CLTS (the second in a two-part series) examines the potential of support mechanisms designed to help disadvantaged groups access and use hygienic toilets in driving more equitable rural sanitation outcomes. It covers the latest thinking on the opportunities and challenges of support mechanisms, and explores what works remains to be done.
In this issue, we use a broad definition of 'support' for creating equitable outcomes. Although financial and physical subsidies often quickly come to mind, a broader practical understanding of support needs to encompass both 'hardware' mechanisms and 'software' approaches, as well as various combinations of the two (Myers et al. 2017; ISF-UTS and SNV 2018).