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Reframing the challenges and opportunities for improved sanitation services in Eastern Africa through sustainability science

Sustainable sanitation services are still unavailable to most people in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) despite decades of implementing very diverse sanitation projects across the continent. Using a Sustainability Science lens, this chapter identifies through an extended literature review the drivers and shortcomings of business-as-usual sanitation approaches that tend to fail in SSA. As one of the main challenges for the success of sanitation project is the creation of an enabling environment, we attempt to identify some of the critical elements that could support the development of such an environment. Subsequently we identify characteristics and competencies conducive to breaking the cycle of failure and to developing sustainable sanitation systems. We use data from key informant interviews with sanitation implementers, focus group discussions with sanitation facility users and visits to sanitation project sites in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The sanitation approaches explored, although different, are all characterized by their adaptation to the local context, community participation, built-in mechanisms that ensure financial viability, use of technologies that are culturally appropriate and emphasis on environmental sustainability. We offer several policy and practice recommendations for the development of successful sanitation governance structures for national governments, external support agencies and project implementers. The examples discussed in this chapter show promise, but do not guarantee success, as all solutions will require several iterations to adaptate to the local context, as well as financial and governance support, to be scaled up. [author abstract]

TitleReframing the challenges and opportunities for improved sanitation services in Eastern Africa through sustainability science
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsGabrielsson, S., Huston, A., Gaskin, S.
Corporate AuthorsIRC
Secondary TitleSustainability challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa II : insights from Eastern and Southern Africa, ed. by Gasparatos, A., et al.
Chapter4
Pagination83-111 : 1 box, 2 fig., 1 tab.
Date Published09/2020
PublisherSpringer Nature Singapore
Place PublishedSingapore
Publication LanguageEnglish
Abstract

Sustainable sanitation services are still unavailable to most people in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) despite decades of implementing very diverse sanitation projects across the continent. Using a Sustainability Science lens, this chapter identifies through an extended literature review the drivers and shortcomings of business-as-usual sanitation approaches that tend to fail in SSA. As one of the main challenges for the success of sanitation project is the creation of an enabling environment, we attempt to identify some of the critical elements that could support the development of such an environment. Subsequently we identify characteristics and competencies conducive to breaking the cycle of failure and to developing sustainable sanitation systems. We use data from key informant interviews with sanitation implementers, focus group discussions with sanitation facility users and visits to sanitation project sites in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The sanitation approaches explored, although different, are all characterized by their adaptation to the local context, community participation, built-in mechanisms that ensure financial viability, use of technologies that are culturally appropriate and emphasis on environmental sustainability. We offer several policy and practice recommendations for the development of successful sanitation governance structures for national governments, external support agencies and project implementers. The examples discussed in this chapter show promise, but do not guarantee success, as all solutions will require several iterations to adaptate to the local context, as well as financial and governance support, to be scaled up. [author abstract]

DOI10.1007/978-981-15-5358-5_4