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1 July 2015

Productive sanitation in practice: Learning by doing

Photo by Plan Rwanda via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Photo by: Plan Rwanda via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The SEI Initiative on Sustainable Sanitation organized a session at AfricaSan 4 in Dakar entitled Productive Sanitation, Food Security and Resilient Livelihoods: What Have We Learned and What Are Barriers to Scale and Sustainability?

The objective of the session was to take stock and learn from some important productive sanitation projects, businesses and research to date. There is an increasing awareness of the importance of considering the full sanitation chain, from toilet to disposal and/or reuse of resources found in wastewater streams. This is reflected in the draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainable and productive sanitation, taking the “reuse route” instead of simply disposing of wastewater, can support progress in many aspects of development beyond sanitation and health, notably food security and energy access. The important challenge is to ensure reuse efforts are sustained over time and create the enabling environment needed to take them from small-scale projects to scale.

Key messages from the session

  • We cannot continue to overlook the potential co-benefits from reuse.
  • Businesses capitalizing on the full sanitation chain to reuse are taking off–but they need stronger policy and regulatory support
  • Rural productive sanitation has to make the transition from projects to programmes/policies.

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SEI Sustainable Sanitation Initiative

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