PRE-Course | Sanitation 21

1 – Effective Sanitation Service Delivery

Sanitation21 serves as a city wide planning tool to develop an equitable city-wide sanitation service delivery plan, and guide recommendations for upgrading services which are realistic within the local capacity for implementation and the availability of funding and resources.

Unlike conventional master planning approaches, Sanitation21 considers a wider range of aspects of sanitation that are not specifically related to infrastructure. These may relate to issues of poverty, inequity, land ownership, environmental concerns, or the wider political economy.

It encourages decision-making based on sound information wherever possible and suggests improvements wherever information is missing in order to prepare the city for the next planning step.

Principles of Effective Sanitation Service Delivery

The following principles outline the basis of effective service delivery:

Respond to expectations for sanitation service improvement

The most important principle is the need to respond to users’ expectations by providing improved services that are appropriate to their ability and willingness to pay for service improvements. Successful sanitation planning activities are therefore based on an understanding of the level of interest for sanitation improvements from households, communities and civic bodies for improved sanitation and the capacity of institutions to promote demand and stimulate behavioural change across a range of stakeholders.

Plan for inclusive and equitable sanitation services

Especially considering that sanitation is now recognised by the United Nations as a Human Right, city sanitation plans need to cover all areas of the city, including low-income, informal and illegal settlements. Although there are many constraints to service delivery in these areas, city authorities need to proactively seek to resolve these and facilitate solutions to ensure that all residents can access improved sanitation.

Ensure services are affordable and financially viable

Even when facilities have been provided, they will fail sooner or later unless funds are available to cover their on-going operation and maintenance costs. Even if capital costs are subsidised, all sanitation systems should aim for sustainable cost recovery to cover operational, regular maintenance and capital maintenance costs.

Integration with other municipal services

As shown in Figure 1, good city sanitation plans recognise the links between sanitation and other municipal services. For example, uncollected solid waste ends up in drains and sewers, greatly increasing maintenance requirements. Consideration of the integration between these different services is important to ensure effective sanitation service delivery. In addition, integrated waste management provides greater opportunities for efficiencies in service delivery and resource recovery and reuse (for example, composting or anaerobic digestion of faecal sludge and organic solid waste).

Focus on behavioural change

In order to achieve the full benefits of sanitation, particularly in terms of public health outcomes, the appropriate use of sanitation facilities often necessitates users to makes changes to their existing behaviors. Therefore, an awareness and behavior change campaign is an essential part of a city sanitation plan in addition to proposals to develop infrastructure and facilities for excreta management. In addition is the need for behavioural changes at all levels, which may require changed management practice to embrace innovations in service delivery that challenge existing perceptions at political and institutional levels.

Engage with stakeholders

Engagement with different stakeholder groups is a critical activity that is essential for the successful development of sustainable sanitation services and promotion on behaviour changes. This is dependent on effective communication with local stakeholders, to ensure that they see the relevance of the planning process and are sufficiently motivated to be actively involved and subsequently that they support the implementation of the plan. Effective communication between these stakeholders, particularly the customer, service provider and regulator is therefore fundamental for sustaining service delivery.