SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication Mon, 24 Apr 2017 22:59:02 +0000 Kunena 1.6 SuSanA - Forum en-gb New video: SuSanA's milestones and impacts from 2007 to 2017 (by SuSanA members and Thilo Panzerbieter) - by: Doreen
If you’re new to SuSanA you might be wondering what has SuSanA been up to in the last 10 years? How and why did it all start? Who were the key people involved over these 10 years?

You can find all that out now by watching an entertaining video which contains the story of SuSanA, told by people who were there:

Please have a look and tell us what you think!

The video is a bit long (48 minutes) but how about you just jump in somewhere and get entertained and informed. Thilo Panzerbieter is moderating the stories of the different people. In the video you will see and hear from:
  • Uschi Eid
  • Arne Panesar (re-aneacting a crucial phone call with Arno Rosemarin)
  • Arno Rosemarin
  • Roland Schertenleib
  • Madeleine Fogde
  • Juergen Eichholz
  • Dayanand Panse
  • Doreen Mbalo
  • Elisabeth von Muench
  • Jack Sim (via video)
  • Graham Alabaster
  • Trevor Surridge
  • Isabel Blackett
  • Annkathrin Tempel
  • Vishwanath Srikantaiah
  • Michael Kropac

The video was recording during the "SuSanA's 10th Anniversary Celebration" in Eschborn on 17 January 2017 (see here for more information and to see other videos from this day:

A very funny section is the re-enacment of the phone call by Arne and Arno in December 2006 where they pondered over the upcoming Year of Sanitation in 2008, and decided to have a meeting in early 2007 to discuss sustainability issues (this meeting became the “birth” of SuSanA). It starts at 6:24 into the video (the link below should take you straight there; if it doesn't then go to minute 6:24 in the video):

Please have a look and tell us what you think!

A link to this video has now also been included in the Wikipedia article about SuSanA in the history section:

Best regards,

Doreen & Elisabeth]]>
Announcements regarding SuSanA Thu, 20 Apr 2017 15:40:22 +0000
Re: Thank you for celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance with us! - by: secretariat
Kindly note that in addition to the World Café videos on YouTube, further videos from SuSanA's 10th Anniversary celebrations are available on our YouTube channel.

Please find the link to the playlist here:
SuSanA's 10th Anniversary

Photographs of the event are also uploaded:
SuSanA's 10th Anniversary Photos

Best regards
on behalf of SuSanA Secretariat]]>
Announcements regarding SuSanA Tue, 18 Apr 2017 11:26:30 +0000
Re: Sustainable Sanitation Alliance receives grant of $2.7 million to further develop its global knowledge platform - by: muench at 48 minutes into the video recording from the SuSanA meeting:

If you click on the link you will see Doreen's presentation followed by Esther Shaylor, followed by Alison Parker (Cranfield Uni collaboration) and a remark by Arne Panesar (GIZ).

The camera work at this event really was superb so if you have a few minutes to spare, I invite you to take a look, and enjoy seeing and hearing your fellow SuSanA members present!

Thanks to the SuSanA secretariat and whoever was involved in doing these videos for doing such a great job! All the presentations and recordings are available here:


* Grant: “Supporting SuSanA and the broader Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Community of Practice through an online platform”, see on Page 1 of this thread for more details.]]>
Announcements regarding SuSanA Thu, 13 Apr 2017 22:51:22 +0000
Re: Thank you for celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance with us! - by: secretariat
Kindly note that the videos from SuSanA's 10th Anniversary - World Café are available on YouTube.

Please find the link here:

Best regards
on behalf of SuSanA Secretariat]]>
Announcements regarding SuSanA Wed, 12 Apr 2017 07:59:55 +0000
Re: Results from SuSanA Platform Usability Study - now available for your comment - by: muench
Thanks for your feedback! Indeed, we also felt that the library was very important and included using the library as one of the 6 tasks in the usability study. We found out that the way the library can be filtered does not seem to be intuitive enough. The filtering function, which is also used in the project database, is currently under discussion here:

As to your second point:
If the site is made such that the forum posts all appear in a "collapsed form" as suggested, please make a button that allows to show the thread as it appears now

Point well taken. This is something that we can anyway only do if the new Kunena version allows it (I suspect it doesn't). Whereever possible, if we make a major change, we would let the users choose and customise how they would like to have it (e.g. currently, where the default is to see posts in chronological order - i.e. most recent at the end of the thread - but users can also change it to most recent posts at the start of the thread.

Is there any further feedback or reactions from other SuSanA members? Did any of the struggles that users reported also feel familiar to you?

One thing that can up again is the slow loading time of the SuSanA website and forum. For the SuSanA website we will remove the logo set which is currently on almost every page and slows down loading of the page. Hopefully this will help a bit.

Announcements regarding SuSanA Mon, 10 Apr 2017 14:13:38 +0000
Re: Results from SuSanA Platform Usability Study - now available for your comment - by: Marijn Zandee
Thanks for posting the results. It was nice to read, and I agree with most of it. I found it especially funny to realize how I have gotten used to some of the little quirks that the site has. Great also to see that the panel that was used to take the survey was so diverse!

As far as the results. I posted before that an upgrade of the library and its functions would be a priority for me. So it was nice to see that this did come up. Making the link between the forum and the library stronger is also a good idea in my view.

One thing I would really like to ask for. If the site is made such that the forum posts all appear in a "collapsed form" as suggested, please make a button that allows to show the thread as it appears now. I would not enjoy having to "open" each item in a thread individually.


Announcements regarding SuSanA Sun, 02 Apr 2017 03:22:25 +0000
Results from SuSanA Platform Usability Study - now available for your comment - by: muench
Please take a moment to browse through their report detailing the findings and recommendations in the attachment. I also attach the moderator's guide which was used in the 1-hour sessions where the 12 participants (representing a range of different characteristics) had to perform certain tasks and think out loud while they did them.

Based on these results we are now planning some quite big changes to the SuSanA mother website, and - to a lesser extent - also to the forum website (note the forum website is getting a new look by end of April anyhow as we are upgrading it to a new version of Kunena. It looks much better!)

We would be very keen to hear your feedback about the results from this study:
  • Do you agree with the issues that they discovered in terms of usability of the SuSanA website and forum website?
  • Do you agree with their recommendations?
  • Do you have further things to add?

I found the whole process very interesting. Have a look at the report if you want to learn more about how this usability study was done and what the results were.

And a big thank you to the 12 participants who spent 1-2 hours with the UXC team online plus the 80 or so SuSanA members who volunteered to take part in this after receiving an e-mail by me. Thank you very much!

If you are now wondering "why didn't I see that e-mail?", that's because we decided on certain criteria: it only went out to about 500 SuSanA members who had all made at least one forum post (but less than 100 posts) and who are from one of our Top-23 countries in the Global South in terms of number of SuSanA members. If you wonder which countries those are, then here is the list: .**

Looking forward to reading your feedback and engaging in further discussions on how to improve the usability of the SuSanA platform!


The rest of this post is meant to be a teaser and encourage you to open the attached document.

Copied from their report:

Study Goals

Evaluate and to identify usability issues that may adversely affect user experience with the two websites, to inform the design of an interactive prototype representing the next iteration of the design.

From the executive summary:

Most participants indicated that they use the Forum website primarily and navigate to Forum by clicking a link in a weekly email update they receive on their email.

“I check the weekly reminders in the email first, and if I am interested in some discussions, then I go.”
“Whenever I receive notifications about forums in my email […], once a week, […] I go to the forum.”
“I’m usually starting from my email and if I am interested in that [points to a link in the email], I click the link and I go to the forum.”

Participants were inclined to use Search or Forum rather than use the site’s navigation to complete most tasks.

Some participants, however, had been unaware of the mother website’s content (such as Library, Regional Chapter, Working Group pages and Homepage content below the fold) until participating in the usability session.
“I never knew so many things out there [on the SuSanA website] now, [after the test] I know all these things.”

Key usability issues encountered by participants were associated with unintuitive filtering within Library and Projects making it difficult for site users to identify resources based on geographic location, working group, and user type.
"For me, using all the filters is difficult. I understand they want to put a lot of information but it's just too much to be able to deal with all the filter options.”

When asked to navigate around the Forum without using search and without following an email link, participants encountered a lot of usability issues using the Forum’s navigation

  • Formative usability test of the current websites.
  • The main objective of a formative usability test is to identify usability issues, that can be fixed before the design is finalized.
  • The user-centered design process involves cycles of formative usability testing, like the one conducted for this project, followed by changes to the design which are based on the test findings, and testing of the new design.
  • It is recommended to implement design recommendations in prototypes of the new design, rather than make changes to the live website, while the design is still being refined.
  • When the process of refining is complete, the next step is to implement the changes live.

  • This type of evaluation involves a small sample size of target users.
  • This sample size allows identifying the most frequent issues that affect many users of the website, so that they can be fixed in the next iteration of the design.
  • This sample size does not allow to identify trends across genders, ages, and other participant characteristics.
  • All 12 participants were the actual users of the SuSanA platform.
  • Recruiting screener outlining key recruiting criteria was developed by Bentley and approved by SuSanA.
  • Third-party recruiter programmed the recruiting survey, which SuSanA emailed to target SuSanA users.


* This was funded as part of the BMGF grant which we spoke about here: . I can only praise the UXC in the strongest possibly way: They were a sheer pleasure to work with, and if I needed any more work done on usability of websites I would not hesitate to use them again.

** Top-23 countries in the Global South in terms of SuSanA members:


Burkina Faso
South Africa

Latin America:
Announcements regarding SuSanA Fri, 31 Mar 2017 14:36:33 +0000
Re: “Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion! - by: arno
The real question people may be asking is “Will SuSanA produce an action plan?” as part of this document? Could be the paper should be formally tabled with SWA and through the SuSanA Forum we crowd-source advice leading to an SDG 6 action plan for the sector.

And there are others that are potential collaborators, staking their claims:


UNSC (the stats people)

HLWP (High Level Water Panel) and their Action Plan

CN Hilton Foundation


SDNS (Sust Devel Solutions Network) mainly republishing UN data (eg JMP)

So this may be the next step in further developing SuSanA’s approach here. It's really more of a communications strategy than a vision document that is needed if we want to see impact. We haven’t really started to pull that sort of strategy together. A first step would be to seek out the people behind the above activities (mainly KM and communication people), draft a basis for collaboration and then fire the whole thing up on the Forum in order to create sector-wide consensus and a policy and implementation action plan with critical linkages to regional initiatives. Without this broader approach we will risk seeing a repeat of the old and last minute forgotten MDG from 2000 and an even larger percentage failure by 2030. So this is a call for an action plan from SuSanA to catalyse and help coordinate the above efforts.]]>
Announcements regarding SuSanA Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:28:14 +0000
Re: “Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – SuSanA’s revised Vision Document now open for discussion! - by: muench 31 March.

With this post, I would like to encourage all SuSanA members to take a look at the document that w're supposed to comment on, as it's an important new document for SuSanA, of similar importance to the "vision document" from ten years ago.

The new document is called "Contribution of Sustainable Sanitation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development" and talks about SuSanA's possible contributions to achieving the SDGs.

I have a number of small comments which I am listing here below:
  1. Who is the target audience for this document? Is it "everyone"? Could we narrow it down a bit and then adjust the language accordingly, e.g. by making it easier to understand if our target audience are people from outside the inner circle of experts?
  2. The language so far seems very academic and wordy, hard to understand, especially for non-native English speakers.
  3. Why keep calling it our “vision document” whilst this term doesn't apper in the title or subtitle. To avoid further confusion I suggest we stop calling it vision document. And instead of Agenda 2030 I would prefer to have the word "Sustainable Development Goals" in the title. I think SDGs is now better understood than Agenda 2030.
  4. Font is very small.
  5. Are the photos in the header and footer line really all that suitable? I must say I am very bored with seeing the same photos there since so many years. I also don’t think that we should have a photo of a UDDT on the front page. This would continue to support this notion that SuSanA = ecosan = UDDT - which is not the image we want to have.
  6. Add page numbers
  7. Page 2, point 3: long complicated sentence
  8. Figure 1 font too small
  9. Figure 2: colours not easy to read. Also, I find some of the claims are exaggerated like the one for SDG 5 on gender equity. I don’t think having toilets will suddenly help so much to reduce gender gaps (even though I agree that toilets are more important for the wellbeing of women than men); Same issue for SDG9 on innovation and infrastructure; I don’t think sanitation would have a huge impact on that
  10. To save space, I think Figure 2 could be dropped. The SDGs are all interlinked so any other sector will say the same thing about their topic, e.g. you could also put energy in the centre, or education (like we put sanitation in the centre here)
  11. Page 3: that definition by Webster for sanitation doesn’t convince me. “The act or process of making sanitary and the promotion of hygiene and prevention of disease by maintenance of sanitary conditions.” So what is the definition of “sanitary” then? Can’t we rather use the definition of sanitation that we use in the Wikipedia article (if indeed we need a definition here; we probably don't).
    • Could use this WHO definition which is mentioned in the Wikipedia article: "Sanitation generally refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and feces. The word 'sanitation' also refers to the maintenance of hygienic conditions, through services such as garbage collection and wastewater disposal."
    • Or this definition from Wikipedia, first sentence: "Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes as well as the treatment and proper disposal of sewage or wastewater." - not saying that Wikipedia is the be all and end all, but if we don't like the definition there, we can also change it.
  12. The reference list wastes a lot of space by listing 5 links to UN and UN-Water documents. Rather link to the most important one or just their website.
  13. The SuSanA website on Page 4 should stand out more and not just be listed under references.
  14. I think there needs to be a proper authors box and date, so that people know in future out to cite this. How about even adding “To be cited as: xxx” That would be useful.
  15. Also I assume this will be open access. If yes, it should say so: CC-BY CA (same way as it was done for the vision document). There we made it (but could be shorter here): Copyright Information: All SuSanA materials are available under the open access licence CC-BY SA. Proper acknowledgement of the source should always be given when materials are used.

I invite everyone to post their own comments or to react to any of my comments to enter into a discussion (and thanks to Sowmya who had posted her thoughts above which were well noted; it was great food for thought but not easy to translate it into actual changes to this particular document without completely re-writing it or starting a new document).

Announcements regarding SuSanA Sat, 25 Mar 2017 16:33:26 +0000
SuSanA monthly webinar series – Overview on the SuSanA website available - by: secretariat
We are very happy to inform you that the SuSanA Webinar Series has its own menu item in the resources section on the SuSanA website

Please follow the link below!

Here you will find information on dates, content and presenters of the conducted SuSanA Monthly Webinars. Furthermore, you can find the links to watch the full video recordings on Youtube and to follow the discussions on the forum!

Enjoy the Webinar Series!

Kind regards,
Martin, on behalf of the SuSanA secretariat]]>
Announcements regarding SuSanA Tue, 21 Mar 2017 09:17:37 +0000
SuSanA Regional Chapter MENA launched at 4th Arab Water Week! - by: secretariat

Next to available resources and engagement opportunities, contributions to the Regional Chapter MENA from SuSanA partners cewas/ seecon, eawag and BORDA have been presented. The session closed with a vivid discussion between Mufleh Alalaween Al Abbadi (SDC), Dr. Almoayied Assayed (Royal Scientific Society), Eng. Malek Rawashedeh (ASG WAJ) and Prof. Dr. Ghada Kassab (University of Jordan), moderated by Dr. Maha Halalshe (GIZ Jordan), about the main challenges within the MENA Region to be addressed by the SuSanA Regional Chapter MENA in future.

One of the key publications within the new released SuSanA Regional Chapter MENA Library was launched right afterwards: The Arabic version of the eawag Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies. Accompanied by TV and media representatives as well as the Chief General of ACWUA Khaldoun Kashman, and Christoph Lüthi (eawag) presented the Compendium in Arabic to the public.

Softcopies of the latest version in Arabic can be found here – as well as the “original” English Version here.]]>
Announcements regarding SuSanA Mon, 20 Mar 2017 09:47:18 +0000
Re: A Regional Chapter for the Middle East and North Africa - Call for participation and contributions - by: simon
Join the rest of the forum teams in revolutionizing the sanitation sector! We are excited to have you on board and wish you all the best.]]>
Announcements regarding SuSanA Wed, 08 Mar 2017 05:07:49 +0000
Re: A Regional Chapter for the Middle East and North Africa - Call for participation and contributions - by: Aline
SuSanA is about the launch the Regional Chapter MENA!

At the fourth Arab Water Week, taking place from March 19th - 21st at the Dead Sea in Jordan, SuSanA will be represented by a joint booth of its partners GIZ, cewas Middle East, Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA), Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (eawag), Antenna Foundation and Arab Countries Water Utility Association (ACWUA). The SuSanA Regional Chapter MENA will be launched and promoted in the dedicated session “Scaling-up sustainable sanitation through the MENA Regional Chapter of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)”.

By the time of the conference the first version of the chapter will be ready and online on the SuSanA platform. It comprises a first overview of partners (including new partners from the MENA region), activities and resources and will continuously grow in the future.

SuSanA partners interested to contribute to the SuSanA Regional Chapter MENA are welcome to contact the SuSanA Secretariat at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it !

Looking forward to your recommendations.

Aline (cewas Middle East)]]>
Announcements regarding SuSanA Tue, 07 Mar 2017 11:25:29 +0000
Re: SuSanA's first regional chapter: India! - launched now - by: magdalenabauer
thanks. I uploaded 3 publications this week.

Two things came to my mind here:

1. the term "open access" makes more sence, I agree. And I would like to add here that not only availability might be the problem, but also language and overall the level of academic writing of which some practicioners might not be familiar with (and not so eager to sit down to read a 200 page long article). The idea of summarizing these things for the susana library came to my mind. It would be a huge timeconsuming task but maybe this would be a way to "break it down" a bit and encourage people to read a shorter version with perhaps easier language (like in Germany official documents also are formulated in "easy language") so people whos first language is not English might understand better. Or would that just be a duplication of wikipedia?

2. For bringing the library up to date a similar thing like the wikedia edit-a-thon might be interesting to try. E.g. you could set up a timeframe for people to share their publications and promote that widely throughout the network. A feature should be that the most recent publications should be uploaded and then it can be published in the NewsMail as well. I like to think that everyone publishing a document would have interest to spread the word and get people to read it....

Anyway, my internship is basically over and I hope I could support in this regard for a bit!

Kind Regards,
Announcements regarding SuSanA Sun, 05 Mar 2017 17:30:18 +0000
Re: SuSanA's first regional chapter: India! - launched now - by: muench
Thanks for your reply which answered all my questions very well.

You said:
Perhaps we have to think of a more userfriendly approach or promote the library to our partners so that they see the value of having their publication in the SuSanA library as well.

Do you have any ideas for this? It would be good to brainstorm a bit about it.

Another thing to consider is why upload to the SuSanA library if the same document is already uploaded elsewhere like in the WEDC library or in the SSWM library. We were thinking of perhaps allowing "meta searches" from the SuSanA library into other people's libraries as well. But then the problem arises how to rank search results (Google has it figured out so I guess one would need a Google algorithm somehow).

Anyhow, this is just to put some ideas out there and to see what people think?

You also said:
Unfortunately, many Phd Theses and other academic papers are not open source....

I completely agree with you on this point. Just to be pedantic (sorry), I woulnd't use the term "open source" here. I think for publications the correct term is "open access" which would be ideal, but even only "free access" would already be good. Note that free access and open access is not quite the same thing.
So our complaint could be formulated like this: Sadly many publications are not easily available because they are behind a paywell; also many PhD theses are not made available to the public e.g. due to embargos by industry partners who might have co-funded the research work. - Sometimes, MSc and PhD theses are not put online simply because the university has no system for this. In this case, the SuSanA library could step in and be the go-to place to have your work uploaded to the internet and made available and "findable" to the world!

Keep up the good work in finding and uploading relevant publications to the SuSanA India chapter part of the library!

Announcements regarding SuSanA Wed, 01 Mar 2017 23:28:24 +0000