Sustainable Sanitation Alliance receives grant of $2.7 million to further develop its global knowledge platform

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Re: Re : [Wg1] SuSanA receives grant from Gates Foundation for its further development

Dear Arno,

Thanks for this great news for improving WASH and our Network SuSaN where we are partner.
Our organization is based in DR Congo where we are working on advocacy and sensitization of stakeholders to consume safe water. I would like to know how SuSaN partners will benefit from this fund to community projects regarding WASH?
Best wishes

Aaron
National Focal Point Sanitation and Water for All-OSC
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Re: Sustainable Sanitation Alliance receives grant of $2.7 million to further develop its global knowledge platform

Reminder/repeat of the official project announcement:

Sustainable Sanitation Alliance: Grant of $2.7 million to supercharge sustainable sanitation knowledge platform

The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) through the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has received a US $2.7 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the continued growth and development of SuSanA’s online knowledge-management and collaboration services.

“With this generous grant we will be able to enrich SuSanA’s services with the needs not only of our current active users but also potentially huge new user groups in the Global South and in the private sector as well – stakeholders who can play a pivotal role in scaling up sustainable sanitation access,” says Arno Rosemarin (SEI), project leader of this grant.

The project will be led by Stockholm Environment Institute and implemented by a consortium that includes Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), WaterAid and Oxfam, as well as specialized additional consultants.

Founded in 2007, SuSanA is an open international alliance, with a network of over 7300 individual members and 282 partners. Since its beginning, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is supporting the SuSanA Secretariat that is hosted by GIZ. SuSanA’s mission is to promote innovation and best practices in sanitation policy, programming, implementation and scaling up, by linking on-the-ground experience with an engaged community of practitioners, policy-makers, researchers and academics. In particular, SuSanA promotes a systems approach to sanitation that takes into account all related aspects of sustainability across the sanitation value chain.

SuSanA has been supported by the Gates Foundation with two smaller grants since 2012. This new three-year grant will cover a third phase of development, highlighting the foundation’s continuing prioritization of knowledge management in the WASH sector

The project will have three key outcomes: 1) Improved use of SuSanA Platform by identified target groups, through a clear communications plan and platform improvements; 2) Demonstrable improvements in the impact that use of the SuSanA Platform has on members’ work in sanitation; 3) Strengthened governance and institutional sustainability of SuSanA as reflected in an operational plan that includes a plan for funding the budget needed to assure the future of SuSanA.

Central to the project will be three studies, the results of which will inform decisions about improved planning and implementation of SuSanA.

One study will look at how online user experiences can be enhanced for SuSanA’s online knowledge-management resource ( www.susana.org ) and already lively discussion forum ( www.forum.susana.org ). The second study will be a marketing study to better understand the knowledge and networking needs of the global WASH community, particularly those parts of the community that could play a bigger role in SuSanA. One key outcome of this study will be the development of a major new communications strategy and implementation plan for SuSanA. The third study will look at how to ensure SuSanA’s long-term organizational sustainability.

For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Quick facts

The grant
Donor: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Value of the grant: USD $2,735,000
Official grant title: “Supporting SuSanA and the broader Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Community of Practice through an online platform”
Dates: 3 years from 3 October 2016

Consortium: Stockholm Environment Institute, WaterAid, Oxfam and GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, the German International Development Cooperation Agency, which hosts the SuSanA Secretariat), consultants: Ostella, Kellogg and Dotwerkstatt plus additional consultants to be tendered.

SuSanA
Current membership: 7500 individual network members and 282 partner organizations Local NGOs, International NGOs, Private sector, Education / Research, Governmental / State-owned organisations, Multilateral organisations, Networks / Associations.
Mission: to promote innovation and best practices in sanitation policy, programming, implementation and scaling up, by linking on-the-ground experience with an engaged community of practitioners, policy-makers, researchers and academics.

Key current SuSanA services which will be strengthened by the project:
1. SuSanA discussion forum: forum.susana.org/
2. SFD Portal: Excreta Flow Diagrams portal where information and resources at a city level can be found: sfd.susana.org/
3. A project database providing details for sanitation projects worldwide: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects xxx
4. The SuSanA library, containing over 2000 publications: www.susana.org/en/resources/library
5. SuSanA working groups: www.susana.org/en/working-groups/overview
6. Updates to Wikipedia articles dealing with sanitation topics; for example en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_defecation
7. Regular webinars run by the SuSanA Secretariat. SuSanA also offers a platform for Thematic Discussion Series: www.susana.org/en/resources/thematic-discussion-series
8. SuSanA Working Group Wikis which offer a platform for collaborative efforts to create website pages relevant to sustainable sanitation topics using “Wiki technology”: www.susana.org/en/susana-wiki?site=Swg1:Capacity_development

To learn more about this project and SuSanA, visit www.susana.org or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can also ask questions about the new grant here in this thread.

Arno Rosemarin PhD
Stockholm Environment Institute
Linnegatan 87D, Box 24218
10451 Stockholm, Sweden
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Phase 3: Supporting sustainable sanitation through knowledge management and collaborative action within SuSanA

Dear Arno,

I learnt today (17 Jan 2017) through the Daily WASH, published by World Hygiene Programme that Sustainable Sanitation Alliance receives grant of $2.7 million to further develop its global knowledge platform. This was published as “Today’s headline.”

Congratulations! :)

Just one query: Will it be possible to set aside a small amount, from the grant, for a consultative workshop at Susana’s headquarters, where senior contributors can share and learn from each others’ experiences in sanitation?

Regards,

F H Mughal

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Re: Phase 3: Supporting sustainable sanitation through knowledge management and collaborative action within SuSanA

Thank you. We are very happy about this grant! :-)

Actually this grant is very "internet and virtual world" focused. Most of the work will be achieved by improving the SuSanA platform and tools, such as Forum, Website, Wikipedia, working group leads support, knowledge management, project database, support of practitioners at country level using Oxfam and Wateraid staff as a starting point, webinars etc. There is also money to do studies on SuSanA itself, i.e. user experience study, communications and marketing study, organizational study. All this will be coordinated via e-mail.

With regards to workshops this is pretty much beyond the scope of this grant, sorry (apart form some things that WaterAid and Oxfam might organise in certain focus countries; this list of focus countries is currently being finalised - I will share it once I have it but I think Pakistan is not on it).

But keep an eye on all the events announced here: forum.susana.org/component/kunena/21-eve...education-programmes

Some conferences offer sponsorships for people from low-income countries.

Any chance you could get yourself to Chennai in India in February?
This should be an excellent conference, the FSM4 conference & SuSanA meeting in India:
forum.susana.org/component/kunena/156-co...egistration-now-open

Regards,
Elisabeth
(working on this grant with Arno and a group of people from the grant consortium)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Community manager of this forum via SEI
(see: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )
Wikipedian, co-founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation

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Re: Phase 3: Supporting sustainable sanitation through knowledge management and collaborative action within SuSanA

Hi Mughal
Maybe not a full-fledged workshop as you have described. But we can run a few webinars that could fulfill the purpose you describe which I think would be highly appreciated. So why not contact Sarah Dicken at SEI who is responsible for planning these webinars.

Regards

Arno Rosemarin PhD
Stockholm Environment Institute
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10451 Stockholm, Sweden
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Re: Phase 3: Supporting sustainable sanitation through knowledge management and collaborative action within SuSanA

Dear Elisabeth,

Thanks for a good round-up. Is it possible for you to tap some other funding sources (ADB, USAID, WB, GTZ, DFID, CIDA, ESCAP) for consultative workshops, since, as you say, the current grant is internal and limited?

Regards,
F H Mughal

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Re: Phase 3: Supporting sustainable sanitation through knowledge management and collaborative action within SuSanA

Dear Arno,

I appreciate your point. The problem with webinars, however, is that, since we have slow and unreliable internet here, it is difficult to stay connected.

I have requested Elisabeth to tap some other funding sources for consultative workshops.

Regards,
F H Mughal

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Re: Phase 3: Supporting sustainable sanitation through knowledge management and collaborative action within SuSanA

Dear Mughal,

When you say "unreliable internet", is this mainly due to power cuts? Or the internet itself? Are there any moves in Pakistan to improve the internet connectivity? I hope so. Many countries are working on that (including Germany, in fact). In some cases, the phone networks also enable a more solid internet connection than the computers do (e.g. one can attend webinars by using one's smartphone).

Regarding these consultative workshops that you suggested: could you provide a bit more detail on what you would have in mind? Who would have to travel to where and to do what? How would the people afterwards use and disseminate what they learned or did at the workshops? Why at "SuSanA headquarters" (which would equal to Eschborn in Germany as that's the location of the SuSanA secretariat)?

I would prefer (if face-to-face meetings are needed) to have them in the capital cities or major cities of the developing countries (with perhaps certain experts connected by video link if needed, or having them there in person). The experts would not necessarily have to come from the global North but could also be from the same countriy or neighbouring countries.

One needs to consider the costs of such an event versus the impacts it can achieve on the ground and the number of people that can be reached directly or indirectly.

Please tell us more about what you have in mind, thanks.

Elisabeth

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Community manager of this forum via SEI
(see: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )
Wikipedian, co-founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation

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Re: Phase 3: Supporting sustainable sanitation through knowledge management and collaborative action within SuSanA

Dear Elisabeth,

It is the internet itself. At the moment, I don't see any plan of improvement.

With workshops, what I had in my mind was to learn from the experiences of other participants. As is normally the case, I expect presentations from the resourced persons.

Why Susana HQ - because that might entails some cost savings.

Elsewhere, you mentioned about the event in India. As you probably know from the newspapers, it is not conducive for us to go there. About a year back, a institution in US offered me funding to attend a event in India. I sent them my passport copy; they sent it to their Indian counterpart for visa. I never got the visa.

Just curious - May I ask, why the event in India? Why not in some other area - Bangladesh, SL, AIT, Manila (ADB)?

Regards,
F H Mughal

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Re: Sustainable Sanitation Alliance receives grant of $2.7 million to further develop its global knowledge platform

At the moment SuSanA still feels a bit "Web 1.0" and I think we discussed before that options for more user interactions beyond the regular forum might be nice.
I think some people have also expressed previously that a easy to use micro-blogging platform would be nice to have for people to reflect on their work or recent developments in the sanitation sector.

A nice new and standard compliment way to have something like that would be to include a Movim XMPP system, see:
movim.eu/
Movim is a kind of social network, micro-blogging and messaging system that builds up on the standard XMPP federated messaging system.
There are options to link the Joomla/Kuena to a XMPP server so that every user would automatically also get a XMPP account, which is kind on a mix between Watsapp and email. Which this one could then start using Movim.
It would be also possible to integrate this nice side-bar XMPP client into the forum:
www.jsxc.org/ which would allow a quick (group) chat option with other users and friends.

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Re: Sustainable Sanitation Alliance receives grant of $2.7 million to further develop its global knowledge platform

A global knowledge platform doesn't require constantly updating to the latest software with more and more bells and whistles. What is required are the human resources to cajole participants into action. Complacency is the biggest issue, this is not addressed by software. The current forum is working for those who actively participate, and the latest model won't improve participation. What I have experienced is that 99% of my technical questions go unanswered. They are either not getting to the right people, or those people can't be bothered answering. Unless the participation bar is raised beyond those regulars who sometimes end up sounding like a cracked record, then progress will not be made.

I've said this before, a forum just gives the opportunity for people to put their views forward. The next (and most important) step is to condense those views into knowledge within a relational database such as a wiki. The Susana wiki is an abject failure and it is obvious why. Elisabeth works tirelessly on this forum and on wikipedia, to improve knowledge and make information resources available to all. That kind of approach is what needs to be resourced, not expensive web developers that instill security fears in the client (hey this is just a forum!) while offering the latest and greatest that will need updating next year. The focus needs to be on the users, not the software service providers.

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Re: Sustainable Sanitation Alliance receives grant of $2.7 million to further develop its global knowledge platform

Great to hear the is continued support for the platform!

Personally, I would not change too much about the forum. But then again, I don't own a smartphone or tablet, so web 1.0 is fine for me :P .

My personal favorite for improvement would be the library, or at least its interface. I sort of accidentally discovered the "filter" function, which is very powerful. How many people know about, and how to use it? For me, the forum probably is Susana's main claim to fame fore now, and I really like it. Can we make our library just as good? Parts are there, but is not an easy and intuitively navigable collection. How can we make the library more visible, more accessible and a more "curated" collection? Some sort of a graphical interface menu that lets you find your way from key-word to key word until you find the document you are after?

Regards

Marijn

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