GTZ Ecosan Approach

Compiled by:
Leonellha Barreto Dillon (seecon international gmbh)
Adapted from:
WERNER, C.; KLINGEL, F.; MANG, H. P.; BRACKEN, P.; PANESAR, A. (2005)

Executive Summary

The guidelines and toolbox presented in the GTZ ecosan source book aim to address the needs and interests of initiators, planners, practitioners and other stakeholders in the preparation and implementation of ecological sanitation (ecosan) projects. This process should be participation oriented, including all stakeholders. The GTZ ecosan approach aims to supply these groups with methods, material, information and ideas as to how they structure the working steps of a particular project (WERNER et al. 2003).

A number of good participatory approaches have been developed to be used for the implementation of conventional sanitation projects, which could be adapted to some extend for ecosan projects. However, ecosan, as a holistic approach goes far beyond the scope of these conventional projects, as it recognises human excreta and water not as a waste but as a resource to be exploited. Issues such as the agricultural reuse of recyclates, the social and logistic aspects, the role of public service providers and the adapting of sanitation facilities to the needs of the user must all be included in the considerations of an ecosan project. The GTZ ecosan source book (WERNER et al. 2003) presents an approach for planning, preparing and implementing ecosan projects. It is based on current knowledge and thinking in the sanitation sector regarding requirements for sustainable solutions. These ten implementation steps are presented together with a description of ecosan projects, stakeholders involved and a number of tools that can be used by practitioners. The GTZ approach is based on the  household centred environmental sanitation approach (HCES), developed by the Environmental Sanitation Working Group of WSSCC (EAWAG 2005). This adaptation of the HCES approach for ecosan projects is described as follows:

 

Step 0 – Raising Awareness

 

 

Step 1 – Request for Assistance

 

  • Activities: formulation of request.
  • Output: request formulated and submitted to relevant party.

 


The ecosan project steps – key moments, necessary activities and expected results. Source: WERNER ET AL. (2003)

Step 2 – Launch of Planning and Consultative Process

 

  • Activities: facilitation including identification of all relevant stakeholders; information on planning process and ecosan; active participation in workshop.
  • Output: start-up workshop report; agreement among stakeholders on the working procedure, their tasks, roles and means, and the project boundaries.
  • See also stakeholder analysis or the exploring section. 

 

Step 3 – Assessment of Current Status

 

  • Activities: participatory development of terms of reference; investigation of status quo; elaboration of reports; present findings of investigation; correct possible factual errors.
  • Output: report on status quo.

 

Step 4 – Assessment of (User) Priorities

 

  • Activities: establish ground rules for step 5 (priorities, levels of service, institutional arrangements, cultural acceptability etc.).
  • Output: ground rules for the identification of options.
  • See also baseline data collection.

 

Step 5 – Identification of Options

 

 

Step 6 – Evaluation of Feasible Service and Reuse Options

 

  • Activities: participatory determination of feasible service and reuse combinations; decision making workshop.
  • Output: decision on continuation or termination and on service/reuse combinations.
  • See also decision making.

 

Step 7 – Consolidated Ecosan Plans for Project Area

 

  • Activities: assembling and integrating service & reuse combinations into a broader water supply, sanitation and reuse framework.
  • Output: Consolidated ecosan plan for entire project area.

 

Step 8 – Finalising Consolidated Ecosan Plans for the Study Area

 

 

Step 9 – Implementation

 

  • Activities: elaboration of technical and implementation plans; decision on infrastructure; tendering; financial support; hardware investment; provision of equipment; construction; training & advice to users and service providers; use of sanitary system; maintenance; collection, treatment; storage, transport; reuse of recyclates; marketing of recyclates.
  • Output: sustainable, user oriented closed-loop sanitary system.
  • See also project implementation.

 

Ongoing monitoring, evaluation and feedback (MEF) activities are extremely important in an ecosan programme. These should be performed throughout the entire process, beginning in the awareness raising phase, with the activities and results being monitored and evaluated.

Applicability

Most approaches to date were developed for programmes dealing with conventional systems of water supply and sanitation. They hence fail to address issues which are of vital importance in ecosan programmes, such as the hygienic reuse of recyclates from household sewage in agriculture, and the needs of the users of the recyclates. The GTZ ecosan project steps aim to tackle these issues. It helps planners to adopt a participatory process that should result in a wider acceptance of the chosen system and its sustainability.
The GTZ-ecosan project steps can be applied in a rich variety of contexts and in different framework conditions. It is particularly helpful in sanitation projects that have a strong focus on recharge and reuse.
 

Advantages

  • Promotes participation and encourages people to become involved, to share knowledge, ideas, opinions, votes, materials, labour, finances etc. in order to reach a common agreement in a transparent way.
  • Helps to reach a decision that respects different interests, needs, priorities, and boundary conditions, as well as the economic and organisational potential and limits of the different stakeholders.
  • As one step forward from the HCES, the GTZ 10 steps, the “new” Step 9 the implementation of an ecosan programme, explicitly includes tasks such as the reuse of recyclates.
  • Contains a good analysis of stakeholders in ecosan projects, as well as their roles in each step of the process. This helps the implementers to motivate and involve key actors.
  • The source book contains a number of specific tools (e.g. for awareness raising, participatory information gathering etc.).

Disadvantages

  • Any ecosan project relies on an “enabling environment” before any it begins, to ensure that governmental support and the legislative framework will result in the development of appropriate standards that will allow the installation of ecosan systems (including the agricultural use of ecosan products). This is not always provided (see BRINKERHOFF 2004).
  • A participatory approach for the implementation of an ecosan project requires a good deal of facilitation. This facilitator needs to be appropriately trained.
  • As ecosan is still a relatively unknown concept, awareness raising must first be done. This requires appropriate funding.
  • The requirements for planning reuse-based ecosan projects are higher than for conventional sanitation, as the concept is not yet widely known. Project planning is thus more demanding.

References Library

WERNER, C.; KLINGEL, F.; MANG, H. P.; BRACKEN, P.; PANESAR, A. (2005): Planning and Implementation of Ecological Sanitation Projects. Eschborn: Ecological Sanitation Programme of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

WERNER, C.; PANESAR, A.; BRACKEN, P.; MANG, H. P.; HUBA-MANG, E.; GEROLD, A. (Editor) (2003): An Ecosan Source Book for the Preparation and Implementation of Ecological Sanitation Projects. Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH. URL [Accessed: 05.04.2010].

EAWAG (Editor) (2005): Household-Centred Environmental Sanitation, Implementing the Bellagio Principles in Urban Environmental Sanitation – Provisional Guideline for Decision Makers. Geneva, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. URL [Accessed: 17.03.2010].

See document in FRENCH, SPANISH

BRINKERHOFF, D. (2004): The Enabling Environment for Implementing the Millennium Development Goals: Government Actions to Support NGOs.. (= “The Role of NGOs in Implementing the Millennium Development Goals”). Washington, DC: George Washington University. URL [Accessed: 05.04.2010].

Further Readings Library

Reference icon

EAWAG (Editor) (2005): Household-Centred Environmental Sanitation, Implementing the Bellagio Principles in Urban Environmental Sanitation – Provisional Guideline for Decision Makers. Geneva, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. URL [Accessed: 17.03.2010].

This guideline for decision-makers has been developed to provide first guidance on how to implement the Bellagio Principles by applying the HCES approach. Assistance is given to those willing to include and test this new approach in their urban environmental sanitation service programmes. Since practical experience with the HCES approach is lacking, this guideline is neither comprehensive nor final, but will have to be developed further on the basis of extensive field experience. Available in English, French and Spanish.

See document in FRENCH, SPANISH


Reference icon

UNESCO/IHP (Editor); GTZ (Editor) (2006): Capacity Building for Ecological Sanitation. Paris & Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) & International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO (UNESCO/IHP). URL [Accessed: 05.04.2010].

This publication deals with the educational aspects linked to ecologically sustainable sanitation, and contains extensive chapters on capacity building and knowledge management in the field of ecological sanitation.


Reference icon

WERNER, C.; PANESAR, A.; BRACKEN, P.; MANG, H. P.; HUBA-MANG, E.; GEROLD, A. (Editor) (2003): An Ecosan Source Book for the Preparation and Implementation of Ecological Sanitation Projects. Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH. URL [Accessed: 05.04.2010].

This document presents the GTZ ecosan project steps in more detail. Though the source book is only available in a draft version it contains important information on the project steps.


Case Studies Library

Reference icon

THAKUR, P.; PANSE, D.; ESF (Editor) (n.y.): Success Stories of Sustainable Sanitation Initiatives in India by ESF. Pune: Ecosan Services Foundation (ESF). URL [Accessed: 22.06.2011].

ESF is working in the diversified sectors in rural, peri-urban and urban areas focusing on the agricultural sector, schools, communities, the Eco-village project, sanitation plans for pilgrimage towns and upcoming projects in local government bodies with a participatory approach and cost effective sustainable sanitation solutions. This document shows some examples.


Reference icon

PANSE, D.; HEEB, J.; SATISH, S.; ESF (Editor) (2007): Large Scale Ecosan Capacity Building Project in India. (= UNESCO-IHP Symposium). Pune: Ecosan Services Foundation (ESF). URL [Accessed: 22.06.2011].

In this paper, a large scale Ecosan capacity building project for introducing the Ecosan approach to several target groups in India is described.


Reference icon

SATISH, S.; THAKUR, P.; PATANGE, P.; ESF (Editor) (n.y.): Sustainable Sanitation Practises Integrating Water and Health. Pune: Ecosan Services Foundation (ESF). URL [Accessed: 22.06.2011].

This document is about Ecosan, as a solution to sanitation problems concerning health and contaminated water.


Awareness Raising Material Library

Reference icon

WERNER, C.; KLINGEL, F.; MANG, H. P.; BRACKEN, P.; PANESAR, A. (2005): Planning and Implementation of Ecological Sanitation Projects. Eschborn: Ecological Sanitation Programme of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

This presentation gives an introduction to HCES and the Bellagio principles, focussing on stakeholder participation and introducing the GTZ Ecosan project steps. Furthermore, some ecosan pilot projects are presented, and challenges for further implementation highlighted.


Training Material Library

Reference icon

WERNER, C.; KLINGEL, F.; BRACKEN, P. (Editor) (2005): The Ecosan Source Book, Tool Box and Data Sheet-GTZ Information Support for Ecological Sanitation.. Eschborn: Ecological Sanitation Programme of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ)..

This presentation gives an introduction to the ecosan source book and toolbox and how it should be used.


Important Weblinks

http://www.gtz.de/ecosan [Accessed: 06.05.2010]

The official web page of the GTZ ecosan programme, containing a wealth of information on ecological sanitation, an extensive library, links to an ecosan photo collection and a number of useful publications.

http://www.ecosanres.org [Accessed: 06.05.2010]

Official web page of the Ecological Sanitation Research Programme (EcoSanRes). The EcosanRes Programme aims to develop and promote sustainable sanitation in the developing world through capacity development and knowledge management as a contribution to equity, health, poverty alleviation, and improved environmental quality. It contains numerous helpful publications, and also allows you to gain access to the ecosanres discussion forum, currently the most active discussion forum on ecological sanitation.

http://www.susana.org [Accessed: 06.05.2010]

The official website of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance SuSanA. SuSanA is a loose network of a number of organizations active in the field of sanitation, founded in 2007. The goals and objectives of SuSanA are to contribute to the achievement of the MDGs, to raise awareness on what sustainable sanitation solutions are and to promote them on a larger scale. The website contains a number of Factsheets by the different SuSanA working groups on various subjects related to sustainable sanitation. There is section where everyone can upload important documents.