Outcome of NETSSAF WP4
A summary compiled by IEES
About NETSSAF Work Package 4:
Work Package 4 of the European Commission sponsored coordination action NETSSAF ("Network for the Development of Sustainable Approaches for Large-scale Implementation of Sanitation in Africa") provided a clear agenda for the development of a conceptual planning approach for supporting decisions in the field of sanitation on a large-scale, identifying and compiling at the same time universally valid technical and non-technical requirements for the large-scale implementation of sustainable sanitation systems in West Africa.
Task 4.1 (“Assignment of Appropriate Low-cost Technologies According to Characteristics of Typical Settlements”) defined a methodology on how to select appropriate sanitation concepts on the large-scale, while task 4.2 (“Identification of Technical Requirements for the Large-scale Implementation”) and task 4.3 (“Identification of Non-technical requirements for the Large-scale Implementation”) compiled universally valid technical and non-technical requirements for the large-scale implementation of sustainable sanitation concepts in rural and peri-urban settlements across West Africa, respectively.
Applying the decision support (DSS) tool that has been developed in task 4.1 and which reflects on technical and non-technical requirements compiled in task 4.2 and 4.3 will help in the evaluation of appropriate sanitation solutions in future.
Participatory planning of sanitation systems:
The success of any large-scale sanitation project depends on the active participation of all stakeholders, therefore identification, involvement and participation of all stakeholder groups is of paramount importance. This is to ensure that all issues and interests related to the stakeholders are properly addressed and proper considerations are made.
In order to meet the needs of participatory planning tools for the large-scale implementation of sustainable sanitation, NETSSAF proposes a framework that is designed to be generally applicable in rural and peri-urban settlements across West Africa. The proposed methodology is based primarily on the following existing methodologies/tools:
· the household-centred environmental sanitation (HCES) approach;
· a multi-criteria decision support systems (MCDSS) and
· sanitation awareness raising tools such as PHAST, etc.
The order of the proposed project steps most closely follows the process laid out in HCES. However, more emphasis is placed on participatory techniques for demand creation, monitoring and evaluation, such as those used in PHAST; and the stakeholder process of defining criteria and preferences that is central to the MCDSS method. The method also proposes the addition of two key steps in the process: demand creation and the construction of demonstration units.
The NETSSAF project steps:
The NETSSAF steps for the large-scale implementation of sustainable sanitation systems in rural and peri-urban settlements across West Africa are as follows:
1. Project start-up and launch of the planning process
This phase defines the general problem and formulates the overall goal of the project. A consensus regarding the project goals and boundary conditions should be reached through a series of discussions with key stakeholders (municipal council, community and religious leaders, youth groups, women’s groups, farmer’s cooperative, and local business/service providers) and drafted into official documents
2. Creation of a demand for improved sanitation
Sanitation requires intervention at both household and community level, therefore raising the demand for such services from individuals becomes of paramount importance for the project success. Awareness raising activities must reach out to all members of the community, including diverse gender, ethnic and class groups, and be structured so as to provide a relevant message to each group. This is an on-going activity and will continue throughout the subsequent planning steps and beyond.
3. Assessment of existing sanitary situation and user priorities:
This step will collect the background information necessary to determine the terms of requirement for a sanitation system from both technical and user perspectives. This step is performed through a comprehensive, participatory assessment of the current level of services and user attitudes towards sanitation across the domains of the project area.
4. Construction of demonstration units
Demonstration units shall introduce sustainable sanitation schemes before the final planning stages for large-scale intervention in order to give potential users and political authorities valid reference points that will assist in their decision making.
5. Identification of feasible sanitation concepts and service systems:
The objective of this step is to reach a decision about the most suitable sanitation system based on the baseline information gathered in step 3, an assessment of the enabling environment, information on users priorities (from steps 3-4), and any additional knowledge that was gained from the demonstration units.
6. Consolidation and finalization of implementation plans for sustainable sanitation
This step develops an action plan for the implementation of the sanitation structures, as well as the corresponding management system. It clarifies financing methods, and roles and responsibilities in construction, operation, and maintenance of the chosen system.
Implementation is a process within itself, and requires an adaptive and flexible project management approach with continuous feed-back via monitoring and evaluation systems. This step is designed to govern the process and key conditions necessary for successful implementation and service delivery.
8. Participatory monitoring and evaluation
Participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) methods are used throughout the project as a feedback system to increase the consensus on appropriateness of goals, objectives and activities. It provides timely, reliable, and valid information for coordinating and managing the other planning and decision-making steps.
About Multi-Criteria Decision Support Systems (MCDSS):
Decision Support Systems (DSS) are derived from the theory of decision analysis and are designed to help decision makers resolve issues of trade-offs through the synthesis of a variety of information. Multi-Criteria Decision Support Systems (MCDSS) are used when there is a need to identify trade-offs between a variety of information, often including both quantitative and qualitative data, as is the case with sanitation. The advantages of using MCDSS in decision-making are that it can increase transparency, stakeholder participation, and optimisation by application of several criteria in the decision process. It is also easily adapted to consider the local conditions. Although the components of each MCDSS will vary depending on the situation, the framework used for developing it is derived from a structured approach to problem solving. In a planning situation, it is useful to apply the same guidelines as those used in the MCDSS process. Since each step in the process requires defining the situation, criteria or ground rules for making trade-offs, it is highly compatible with other participatory tools.
Application of NETSSAF project planning steps to participatory decision-making process:
Application of the planning steps to a participatory decision-making process is demonstrated using two fictive cases that are based on the information on typical West African settlements.