Participants and Consortium
In order to run a highly efficient and successful network project of this type, careful consideration were given to its composition. The proposed consortium was well balanced and allowed for the maximum integration of knowledge, expertise and experience between partners. 19 members representing each relevant field of resource management in sustainable sanitation were part of NETSSAF, of which complementation is shown in the following figure.
The partners devoted to the research and development of sustainable sanitation were selected to result in a consortium with expertise in different disciplines related to the management of sanitation: (1) appropriate low-cost sanitation technologies, (2) recycle of nutrients, agricultural and aquaculture potential, (3) community based management and (4) governance and institution in sanitation. Seven institutions of higher education and four research centres composed the main strength of the scientific and technological fraction of the consortium, from which 4 were from Sub Saharan Africa and 7 were European. All these institutions were pioneers in their areas and also well recognised in their labour as educational centres in the field of sustainable management of resources, particularly in the application of sustainable sanitation concepts in poor peri-urban and rural areas.
It has to be emphasised, for instance, the extension activities performed by CREPA in West and Central Africa, labour that has been performed since years, consolidating the compromise of this organisation with the sustainable development of West Africa. CREPA is present 17 countries (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Centrafrique, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, Gabon, Guinée-Conakry, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tchad, Togo and Guinee-Bissau).
The joint work of these scientific and technology innovators allowed to reach the scientific objectives proposed by the consortium, due to the accumulated know-how and expertise of the group and the complementation existing among the fields of knowledge.
Even though that all 11 R&D centres carried out field work directly with the communities to different extends, a special attention was given to include 4 technology transfer and dissemination institutions, which also were key players in reaching the objectives of NETSSAF, not only by means of their own scientific resources, which was the case of BioAzul, BOATA, ESCA and GTZ, but also by designing an effective dissemination and extension plan of results, being capable of truly reach the public by the use of appropriate means of communication and adapted mechanisms. Due to the vast experience on carrying out dissemination plans in rural communities of West Africa, BOATA gave a deep support achieving the expected results of the dissemination strategy.
Two communities in West Africa, MTM and Ville-de-SYA, were also a fundamental part of this Coordination Action since they had a closer field experience with the African population. Furthermore, it was considered essential the integration of already existing thematic international networks and foundations into the consortium, promoting from the beginning positive synergies among the relevant actors in the Sub-Saharan Africa scene.
The WSAP-AF, Water and Sanitation Program – Africa Region, entered to form part of NETSSAF initiative, bringing a handful of already gained knowledge and understanding, representing several countries of Africa. It had three regional offices (the headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, the Southern Africa hub in Maputo, Mozambique, and the Western and Central Africa hub in Dakar, Senegal) and by mid 2006 was expected to have 14 country offices: in Nairobi (Kenya), Maputo (Mozambique), Lusaka (Zambia), Kampala (Uganda), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Dakar (Senegal), Kinshasa (RDC), Kigali (Rwanda), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), and Cotonou (Benin). In 2006, offices were opened in Niamey (Niger), Tunis (Tunisia, in the AfDB) and Accra (Ghana). Additionally, the International Water Association (IWA) was the largest internationally focused network of water professionals and therefore was also a key member of NETSSAF consortium with gathered experience form more than 100 countries.
NETSSAF consortium was truly trans-national in character, made up of 20 partners coming from 13 different Sub-Saharan Africa and European nations: Austria, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. All the Sub-Saharan Africa partners were facing the problem of lack of improved sanitation and drinking water sources. Most of the members were involved in research and coordination projects before, many of which were directly relevant to the aims of this project. Some of the members also worked together in previous projects. This allowed for cohesion with existing projects and networks, minimised overlap of research objectives, and maximised the potential and efficiency of international effort for the implementation of sustainable sanitation concepts in West Africa.
As the official language of Burkina Faso, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mali is French, the consortium was comprised of partners who were at least proficient in French. Most of the European partners were able to communicate in both English and French, facilitating uninhibited communication within the consortium. Further, the majority of the African partners were fluent in English and French, and these factors combined led to fluid channels of communication throughout the duration of the project.
Only human resources were deployed by the project. The details of the personnel who provided expert knowledge to the project are described in the partner descriptions below. Costs required for travel to meetings, workshops, seminars etc. were also included in the project’s budget.