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Network for the development of sustainable approaches for large-scale implementation of sanitation in Africa

Final Report Summary - NETSSAF (Network for the development of sustainable approaches for large scale implementation of sanitation in Africa)

The millennium development goals (MDG) regarding sanitation could not be met by 2015 unless provision of sanitary services in African countries was rapidly increased. The NETSSAF project aimed to establish collaboration between European and international stakeholders and to promote communication between research organisations, associations, universities and social and governmental authorities towards this direction. The project focused on sub-Saharan Africa, particularly on the West African countries. Its overall target was to propose feasible solutions for the achievement of the sanitation MDG in the continent.

Among the project objectives was to identify best practices, gaps in knowledge and application barriers to coordinate undertaken research and development (R&D) activities and to propose directions for future attempts. In addition, a variety of innovative, adaptable and replicable approaches to sustainable sanitation were developed, integrating appropriate low-cost technologies with community-based management, relevant frameworks and socioeconomic constraints. The principal NETSSAF outcome was the creation of a sanitation management support tool, which facilitated the application of large-scale sanitary practices.

The project activities were organised in nine work packages (WPs) which undertook successfully the following tasks:
1. Definition of criteria for identification of key actors, assessment and classification of settlements with no sanitation access and evaluation and classification of alternative technologies.
2. Regional evaluation and classification in typical settlements, along with selection of representative case study sites. The sites had obvious distinctions in geophysical, economical, social and administrative factors.
3. Sanitation technologies' assessment, which involved the development of seven principal sanitation systems. Feasible technology components and configurations were established according to these systems and described with respect to their key features and characteristics.
4. Identification of potential sustainable alternatives and of the related requirements, which were essential for the finalisation of the selected methods.
5. Regional identification of possible sanitation providers and actors, which was elaborated using adequately prepared questionnaires. A database of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in West Africa was created so as to improve SMEs market performance.
6. Development of adapted sustainable sanitation management systems. Two tools were created, namely a decision support system and a relevant guiding document, in order to facilitate stakeholders in decision making, planning, installing and properly implementing the most appropriate technologies in any given case.
7. Activities' coordination, which included review of R&D operations both within and outside NETSSAF boundaries, so as to avoid efforts' overlapping. A public library was designed, providing information on sustainable sanitation and facilitating its implementation in the regions of interest. In addition, proposals for future R&D projects, implementation recommendations and suggestions for increased collaboration were provided.
8. Applicability increase and knowledge dissemination programme. The principal tools utilised for information communication were the project website, a series of workshops, educational programmes in academia, organisation of a relevant conference and production of leaflets, articles and other documentation.
9. Project management, both in terms of budget allocation and scientific coordination and support.

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