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Resource details

Sanitation programmes revisited

Author(s): Saywell, Darren  |  Hunt, Caroline

Publisher: WEDC
Place of publication: Loughborough University, UK
Year: 1999

Series: WELL Studies in Water, Sanitation and Environmental Health Task 161
Collection(s): WELL

ISBN: 0906055725


During the 1980s, major efforts were launched by a number of agencies to increase coverage in urban sanitation. In both urban upgrading and water and sanitation projects, a variety of approaches and technologies were employed in an effort to find appropriate and affordable solutions to the problems of urban sanitation. Many of these projects were "pilot" or "demonstration" projects, which were intended to sow the seed of innovation: upon successful completion, it was hoped that others would take up and replicate the appropriate technique/approach.

Documentation of the success, failure, or lessons to be learned from these experiments is haphazard. Naturally, there is an inclination for those involved in the innovation (either through its implementation or its funding) to claim success for it. There is however, little comparative documentation of what worked and what did not on a programmatic basis, to determine whether or not the projects were in fact replicated, or creatively adapted, for expansion. This project revisits these sanitation programmes, identifying where and why they have failed or succeeded.

This report focuses on two notable African sanitation programmes, the Strategic Sanitation Plan, Kumasi, Ghana and the National Low Cost Sanitation Programme, Mozambique. Each programme adopted new approaches in the provision of sanitation to low income urban communities; each had overcome a range of constraints and difficulties to deliver these services.

The key points to emerge from the discussion include:

In terms of how and when both Programmes developed, external forces such as the introduction of stringent IMF conditions to Mozambique in 1988 led to significant shifts in Programme fortunes.

Demand assessment techniques were a point of divergence between the Programmes. The KSP employed formal assessment methodologies (Contingent Valuation Method) while the PNSBC has conducted no formal user consultation exercise since an ad hoc survey in the early 1980s.

Sanitation promotion was poorly developed (initially) in both Programmes, either emphasising technology in isolation from hygiene and health, or failing to be considered as an element of the Programme. When comparing the two, it is clear that the PNSBC has developed a more comprehensive and progressive sanitation promotion strategy.

Incentives for participation were identified as being central to the process of designing, planning and managing sanitation in urban areas.

Responsibilities for service provision were highly fragmented in both cases, which led to lack of co-ordination and a dilution of Programme effort. There is a need for measures to improve co-ordination and a commitment to engage in a meaningful dialogue between secondary stakeholders to bring about more effective Programme delivery.

Experiences with finance and cost recovery indicate that the management inputs to loan repayment schemes may outweigh the actual amount of money collected. Subsidies continue to be a controversial issue for discussion. Better targeting to reduce perverse outcomes, and a judicious withdrawal (if required) are key recommendations.

The scale and outputs of the two programmes differed by orders of magnitude. Under the KSP, which ran for five years, 256 latrine units were built for 185 homes in three pilot areas of Kumasi. The PNSBC, on the other hand, has produced over 230,000 improved latrines since the early 1980s, serving 38 per cent of the total urban population of Mozambique.

Ghana  |  Hygiene promotion  |  Kumasi  |  Latrines  |  Mozambique  |  Sanitation