The objective of the intervention is to reduce the incidence of diseases related to poor sanitation and manage public risks posed by the failure to safely confine the excreta of some community members. The way to achieve this objective is by empowering communities motivated to take collective action. Local governments and other agencies perform at best a facilitating role. There is a growing recognition that this approach, referred to as Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), may help with the reduction of open defecation practices. However, no rigorous impact evaluation of CLTS has been conducted so far. This study presents the results of the baseline analysis of a randomized controlled trial for studying the effect of CLTS in rural Mali.