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What is Southern Africa knowledg
What is Southern Africa knowledge node on sustainable sanitation (SAKNSS)?

The Southern Africa knowledge node on sustainable sanitation aims to fast track and accelerate the delivery of sanitation through sustainable solutions. The node aims to facilitate and coordinate capacity and skills development, knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Sanitation challenge

2.5 billion with no sanitation, 1.75 billion to be served by 2015;
450 million new installations by 2015;
95,000 installations per day to 2015;
approximately 589 million people, more than 60% of Africa’s population currently do not have access to safe sanitation;
an estimated 1 million Africans die every year from sanitation, hygiene and drinking water-related diseases.

If the Millennium development Goals are to be reached, a dramatic acceleration in the rate of progress in sanitation coverage is necessary. If they are to be reached sustainably, knowledge management, research and further development of sustainable sanitation systems with proven track record and a large potential for multiplication are urgently required.

This can be best achieved through a combination of demonstration projects and action research, the development of field – tested standardized systems and the compilation of a broad knowledge base on innovative and sustainable sanitation. Demonstration projects are also needed to illustrate how robust, sustainable ecological sanitation systems can be provided at a high enough rate to make the sanitation targets of the MDGs achievable.

The holistic approach needed for knowledge management, research and development for sustainable sanitation solutions should be multi-facetted. It needs to comprise not only traditional water supply and sanitation issues, but also other disciplines such as agriculture, town planning, public health, environmental protection, resources management, economics, marketing and sustainability assessment. At the same time the development of sanitation systems should adopt a life cycle approach. This should be applied to the material flows that enter the system and must subsequently be managed or reused , as well as to the infrastructure itself (source: GTZ).

“Rapid acceleration of progress is needed to bring improved sanitation to the 1.4 billion people who were doing without in 2006, with all its attendant consequences for the health of communities and the local environment. At the present rate of progress, the 2015 sanitation target will be missed”  SHA ZUKANG 

Node structure and governance

The SAKNSS secretariat is based in South Africa managed by the Commission and implemented through the Water Information Network- South Africa. The regional steering committee is responsible for the strategic guidance of the node.


Areas of interest

  • Sanitation policies
  • Sanitation, Health and Hygeine
  • Education strategies
  • Ecological sanitation
  • On-site sanitation technology options
  • Waterborne sewerage systems
  • Health and Hygiene Education
  • Institutional and Social Development
  • Free basic sanitation services
  • Financing sanitation and cost recovery
  • Participatory approaches
  • Community management
  • Sanitation and hygiene promotion
  • Monitoring and evalualtion of sanitation projects
  • Reuse of wastewater
  • School sanitation
  • Gender and sanitation
  • Wastewater treatment technologies
  • Solid waste management
  • O&M
  • Other

Benefits for members

• Link and exchange information with peers
• Access to new information and experience
• Practical support and capacity building
• Lessons learned
• Analysis of policies and sector trends;
• Documentation and sharing of best practice;
• Facilitating platforms for sustainable sanitation dialogue
• Awareness raising;
• Networking

Speak to us to

• Submit articles , letters to the editor, opinions and analysis for the Sanitation Matters magazine
• Register a lesson for documentation
• Learning journey facilitation
• Register sustainable sanitation projects/case studies implemented in your country

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