Assessing sustainable approaches to sanitation planning and implementation in West Africa
Abstract: The challenge of achieving global sanitation targets is that it requires application of both technology that is appropriate and a supporting organizational structure. The interactions between the two begin during the planning/decision-making process and continue throughout the system lifetime. During the last decade, strategic planning frameworks have emerged in the water and sanitation sector that reflect a shift from traditional, top-down planning to a more participatory, bottom-up approach. Despite this shift and in light of the continuing challenge of achieving widespread sanitation in the world, it is necessary to question if a knowledge gap exists between the global sanitation frameworks and local stakeholder priorities. This licentiate thesis presents the first phase of a research project whose objective is to study the global models and compare them with existing local planning and decision-making conditions. It focuses on establishing the global context with regard to strategic planning tools and perspectives on sustainable sanitation. In general, there is close agreement on methodology and processes recommended by international planning frameworks; however the use of the term “sustainable sanitation” is highly variable. In general, the findings of this thesis show that improving sanitation conditions requires tools based on participation, social marketing, and process approaches for planning, capacity development, and feedback. Continuation of this research will investigate the local context regarding current planning practices and perspectives on sustainable sanitation in order to assess potential differences between the global and local context and make recommendations for improving adaptation of planning strategies for bringing sanitation to scale.
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