Ideas and vision for working group 9

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Re: Ideas and vision for working group 9

This is in response to my own post of earlier today.

While searching for something on the forum, I read the following in a post by Elisabeth Muench on Oct 30, 2011 and it cleared some things up for me.

"A further idea which occurred to me today: When we have compiled the 13 factsheets, we could take their key points and make a sort of summary out of all the factsheets (you could also call this a "meta document of the factsheets"). I am envisaging 1-2 pages. Nobody has time to read fat documents these days, but 1-2 pages is always possible... This could also serve to dispell the "myth" that SuSanA = ecosan = reuse, or that SuSanA is just "the old ecosan gang in disguise"...! Nothing could be further from the truth. SuSanA is about sustainability in all aspects. If reuse helps in some cases to make a sanitation system more sustainable then so be it. In many other cases, an exaggerated focus on reuse will make the system less sustainable. It is probably no coincidence that the largest UDDT project (in Durban with 75,000 UDDTs) is also a project with no reuse. Also many schools would struggle with reuse and the focus should much rather be on good O&M procedures."

Point well taken! Thank you.
Carol McCreary
Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
1240 W. Sims Way #59, Port Townsend, Washington 98368 USA

Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.

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  • Carol McCreary
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Ideas and vision for working group 9

Working Group 9 Members,

This is to follow up on today's email from Leonie Kappauf and Christian Rieck. First of all many thanks to them and SuSanA secretariat folk for keeping us on task to complete the latest version of WG9 Factsheet. It's also a a good suggestion to move the discussion to this Google-searchable forum. As for the list of new topics, it's very sophisticated indeed; for many of them I feel out of my depth and hope that others will educate me. Some of the more macro business issues should probably be coordinated with WG2 Finance and economics.

One thing concerns me: Kappauf and Rieck note that "Less attention has been noticed on reuse concepts which to date have showed only minimal relevance for business approaches." Doesn't sanitation awareness take place within the a context where reuse, closing loops, and nutrient cycling are fundamental? And doesn't this awareness need to carry over into sanitation businesses? Isn't this what sustainable sanitation is all about?

Sure, the aspirational impulse for toilet ownership and use may well be a toilet that uses [drinking] water to flush into hideously expensive sewer infrastructure. The media has influenced many cultures, while others are technologically "locked in". Our job is to bring awareness of the consequences.

PHLUSH works in Portland, Oregon where nearly everyone has access to "modern" plumbing. Because our city sits atop the Cascadia Subduction Zone, however, we must prepare for an earthquake that will likely bring down water and sewer systems. For many citizens, disaster sanitation awareness is an opportunity to understand the nature and properties of their own urine and feces for the first time. The conversation naturally leads to what you can do with the stuff and its inherent value. What's more a disaster scenario illustrates the need for personal, household and neighborhood responsibility for excreta produced. So it's a paradox: while emergency sanitation inherently pays little attention to reuse, awareness of it often opens people's minds to new, more sustainable possibilities.

I guess my question for WG9 is this: Does our focus on sanitation as a business ignore and bypass the objective of marketing resource-oriented productive sanitation? If so, what should we do about it?

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Note from moderator: Here is the original email that went to the working group:


Dear Carol, Jack and authors and contributors to factsheet 9a and 9b,

I hope you all had a good start into the new year. Many thanks again for your valuable inputs and feedback during the reviewing of the factsheet. The revision also opened up the opportunity for a broader reflection on the activities of the working group to date and for creating a vision for future areas of interest.

Therefore we want to take the opportunity now to think ahead. What comes next and what are the themes and topics that motivate and benefit members most in their daily work and interest? In the sanitation sector a lot of attention was focused lately on sanitation marketing concepts and market-based approaches. First evaluation results of running programs e.g. WSP in India and Indonesia seem promising. Also business models like franchising or rental of mobile household toilets have been in the general focus. Less attention has been noticed on reuse concepts which to date have showed only minimal relevance for business approaches.

Just to name a few here are a couple of headlines that we think might be interesting for the working group to discuss and share on.

• Business models in sanitation (Micro franchisees, SaniMarts, Network models, rental schemes etc.)
• Business support for private suppliers (business training, credits, ambivalence of NGO marketinterventions etc.)
• Innovative concepts for enhancing demand (Branding, Market segmentation, Innovative design adaptation etc.)
• Financing and credit models within sanitation marketing programmes (pro-poor subsidy programmes, micro credits etc.)
• Integration and phasing of sanitation marketing and other sanitation promotion aspects (phasing of CLTS and sanitation marketing, interfaces and contradictions, sanitation ladder)
• Government roles in sanitation marketing (regulation, role of local governments and extension workers, human capacity)
• Household decision making (barriers and motivators of latrine construction etc.)
• Marketing strategies (market segmentation, branding, use of CLTS elements etc.) – basically part of point 3 (innovative concepts)
• Up-scaling of sanitation marketing (sanitation marketing programmes vs. sanitation marketing projects)
• Sustainability of sanitation marketing projects (sustainability of behaviour change, finance security)- might include upscaling

We believe that the discussion forum forum.susana.org could provide a good platform for members to discuss these and any other topic of interest. Through postings a wide range of examples for challenges, open questions, success stories and ideally best practices can be collected and discussed there. The working group could then harvest these discussions and inputs for a new working-group publication such as a compilation of best practices on a specific issue. What do you think?

The working group page on the SuSanA website susana.org/index.php/lang-en/working-groups/wg09 could display more prominently the activities and topics of the working group including links to the WG9 discussions on the forum. The secretariat can easily customize the working group page which would offer room for creativity. This potential has not been utilized yet. Also the library is a brilliant tool to sort and categorize relevant literature for the working groups. Many other things are possible.

We would be happy to hear your opinion and vision for the working group 9.

Kind regards,
Leonie Kappauf and Christian Rieck

+++++++++++
Carol McCreary
Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
1240 W. Sims Way #59, Port Townsend, Washington 98368 USA

Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.

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