NETSSAF Approach

Compiled by:
Leonellha Barreto Dillon (seecon international gmbh)

Executive Summary

The tutorial for sustainable sanitation planning is a ready source of information for decision makers and individuals involved in setting up municipal wastewater systems and concepts for management of excreta in communities in (developed for West Africa). The guide, offered as CD-Rom, as a link on the internet and in a printed version, illustrates a participatory approach to sanitation planning, dealing with the complex stakeholders concerns when deciding and implementing a sanitation system. It takes the user through a seven-step-approach, each of them with pre-selected questions and answers, case studies, links for further information and tools to facilitate the adoption of participatory sanitation planning in localities in West Africa (BARRETO et al. 2008).

 www.netssaftutorial.com

Initiation of a participatory planning process. Source: NETSSAF (2008)

The NETSSAF tutorial for sustainable sanitation planning presents an introduction to the participatory planning approach, targeting planners of sanitation programmes in West Africa and elsewhere and guiding them on how to facilitate “informed choices” in consultation with users and other stakeholders (BARRETO ET AL. 2008). The tutorial is focussing on seven steps for the planning and implementation of sanitation projects and programmes in a community, with emphasis on peri-urban and rural areas, which include (BARRETO & ONADIPE 2008) the following (Note: you will find tools for each of these steps also in the links shown at the end of every paragraph).

 

  • STEP 1 (Project start-up and launch of the planning process): In this phase, the general problem and the overall goals of the project are formulated. A consensus regarding the project goals and boundary conditions should be reached through a series of discussions with key stakeholders and drafted into official document (find other tools to explore here).
  • STEP 2 (Creation of demand for improved sanitation): Sanitation requires intervention at both household and community levels. 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 (see also demand creation).
  • STEP 3 (Description of settlement conditions, with assessment of existing sanitation 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 (see also: baseline data collection).
  • STEP 4 (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 user priorities, and any additional knowledge that was gained from exposure sub-step (see also the various tools on the decision making site).
  • STEP 5 (Consolidation and finalisation of implementation plans for sustainable sanitation): In this step, an action plan for the implementation of the sanitation structures will be developed, as well as the corresponding management system. Financing methods, roles and responsibilities in construction, operation, and maintenance of the chosen system are clarified (see e.g. stakeholder strategy plan).
  • STEP 6 (Implementation): Implementation is a multi-step process 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 (see also project implementation).
  • STEP 7 (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 the other planning and decision making steps (see also monitoring and evaluation).

 

A view of the on-line NETSSAF tutorial showing the 7 steps.

A view of the on-line NETSSAF tutorial showing the 7 steps. Source: NETSSAF (2008)

The tutorial, available in French and English, has been designed as a web-based tool (see www.netssaftutorial.com). The 7 steps that make up the process of planning sustainable sanitation are shown in different screens. Each step is comprised of the following elements: introduction, timing, sub-steps, expected outcomes and results. In order to support the implementation of each step, a set of tools and methodologies is available to facilitate the actual carrying out of the proposed activities. A set of pre-defined questions and study cases is also prepared as illustration modules. The section “Further information” is a compilation of literature which will complement users’ understanding of the project/programme cycle of implementing sanitation in a community. To be used as reference, the tutorial also contains a section called “For all steps” in which the following components can be observed: validation of key actors and their roles, technical and non-technical requirements, differentiating between peri-urban and rural. Finally, the system also includes a full menu with complementary information related to sustainable sanitation, planning sustainable sanitation and participatory planning approach. This guideline was developed by 19 organisations from West Africa and Europe, which make up the NETSSAF consortium, a project supported by the European Union under the 6th Framework Programme. 


Applicability

netssaf 2008 participatory decision making process

Participatory decision making process. Source: NETSSAF (2008)

The NETSSAF tutorial for sustainable sanitation planning was designed to support planners and engineers in West Africa to carry out a participative process when planning sanitation in rural and peri-urban areas in a local level. However, the steps and the different tools and methodologies are in most of the cases general enough to be used in urban areas and not exclusively under the West African conditions. The idea was to offer a source of information and not to present a blue print process to be repeated in all the cases.

 

With this, the user should take the approaches and tools he/she would find applicable and adapt them to the respective local conditions. Although the tutorial was prepared to support sanitation planning processes, the participative approaches and techniques for the involvement of the beneficiaries could be also be interesting in any other water project.


Advantages

  • User involvement raises awareness and is particularly important to enable an “informed choice”, and for the proper operation of on-site systems, as neglecting their needs and preferences can result in the non-use of the system with users reverting to open defecation.
  • Working with a participatory planning approach improves motivation, learning and self-realisation, feelings of ownership and self-esteem, and the possibility that the identified problems and solutions will truly reflect the felt needs of the stakeholders.
  • The tutorial presents a clear and systematic way to approach the project cycle in the field of sustainable sanitation.
  • It also offers a set of templates and documents to download that could be easily adapted to the specific conditions of a local project.
  • The tutorial and complementary manuals are offered in English and French.

Disadvantages

  • The participative approach has not been yet validated in real case studies, therefore its actual application is still unknown.
  • To start each of the steps, a set of technical and non-technical requirements need to be met, which in many cases might not be in the hands of the planner and the sanitation team. This situation could discourage the team, and the process could be stopped.
  • In order to carry out such a process, it is necessary to train the community workers in participatory techniques.
  • To carry out a participatory decision making process, it is necessary to continuously involve the stakeholders and organise meetings for discussion. This will need the availability of sufficient funds and time.
  • There is the risk of concentrating the decision making process only on those stakeholders who have a technical background (such as sanitation experts) and the authorities, leaving the end users out of the process.

References Library

BARRETO DILLON, L. ; ONADIPE, E. (Editor) (2008): Development of Sustainable Approaches for Large Scale Implementation of Sanitation in West Africa. Proceedings at IWA Conference. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: AQUATECH Amsterdam 2008: "Millennium development goals on sanitation".

BARRETO DILLON, L.; BUZIE FRU, C.; ONADIPE, E. ; ROBERTI PÉREZ, L. (Editor) (2008): Introduction to the NETSSAF Participatory Planning Approach, a tutorial and guideline for sustainable sanitation planning . (= Proceedings of the NETSSAF Final Conference “Pathways towards Sustainable Sanitation in Africa"). Ouagadougou: NETSSAF. URL [Accessed: 02.04.2010].

NETSSAF (Editor) (2008): NETSSAF Participatory Planning-Approach. A tutorial for sustainable sanitation planning. Network for the Development of Sustainable Approaches for Large Scale Implementation of Sanitation in Africa. URL [Accessed: 29.03.2010].

NETSSAF (Editor) (2008): The NETSAFF Participatory Planning Approach. A Tutorial for Sustainable Sanitation Planning. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2012].

Further Readings Library

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NETSSAF (Editor) (2008): NETSSAF Participatory Planning-Approach. A tutorial for sustainable sanitation planning. Network for the Development of Sustainable Approaches for Large Scale Implementation of Sanitation in Africa. URL [Accessed: 29.03.2010].

This is the actual tutorial of the participative planning approach developed by NETSSAF, containing all the steps, sub-steps and case studies. It is freely available on the internet in French and English.


Reference icon

NETSSAF (Editor) (2008): NETSSAF Participatory Planning Approach. A Tutorial for Sustainable Sanitation. NETSSAF. URL [Accessed: 10.02.2010].

This document presents an overview of some existing participatory sanitation planning tools, illustrating the scope of the steps and some of the common methodologies employed in the various frameworks.


Awareness Raising Material Library

Reference icon

BARRETO DILLON, L.; BUZIE FRU, C.; ONADIPE, E. ; ROBERTI PÉREZ, L. (Editor) (2008): Introduction to the NETSSAF Participatory Planning Approach, a tutorial and guideline for sustainable sanitation planning . (= Proceedings of the NETSSAF Final Conference “Pathways towards Sustainable Sanitation in Africa"). Ouagadougou: NETSSAF. URL [Accessed: 02.04.2010].

This paper presents the NETSSAF participatory planning approach in a brief manner.


Important Weblinks

http://www.netssaftutorial.com [Accessed: 06.05.2010]

This is the actual tutorial of the participative planning approach which has been described, containing all the steps, sub-steps and case studies. It is free available in internet in French and English.

http://www.netssaf.net [Accessed: 06.05.2010]

This web site contains a library of more than 60 documents produced in the frame of the EU funded Coordination Action NETSSAF, which served as the baseline for the preparation of the tutorial and guideline.