Sanitation Demand and Delivery in Informal Settlements - Planning and Implementations Support

March 2004

Executive Summary

Rapid urbanization is a critical challenge for those charged with service provision to urban centres in developing countries. Unable to keep up with the rapid pace of population growth, many urban centres are experiencing a substantial increase in the number of people living below the poverty line in informal or unplanned settlements, many of which are illegal. Most informal settlements lack access to adequate and affordable basic services such as water supply and sanitation.

In South Africa, despite enabling national policies, institutional initiatives to develop delivery frameworks for basic sanitation have been slow because of the lack of consensus in Water Services and related units within local authorities on a way forward. There is broad policy acceptance of the right to basic sanitation but the details for the delivery of "free basic sanitation" are not provided.

In response to Regional Stakeholder requests at the Provincial Sanitation Task Team (Western Cape), the Community Water Supply and Sanitation Unit at Peninsula Technikon was approached to spearhead the development of a planning and implementation framework for basic sanitation services in informal settlements in the City of Cape Town.

Formative Research focused on the lack of alignment at the planning stages, particularly between local government departments and a range of key stakeholders, to assist people to work together towards taking action that is founded on building consensus. An inclusive approach to the research involved key actors (officials, NGOs and community participants) in identifying the elements that need to be moved forward to guide more effective planning and action.

This research of current approaches, while drawing from local case studies to inform the City of Cape Town, has relevance to the rest of the country. The proposed Framework also has the potential of wider application in the development of service delivery protocols through an action research methodology.

This report is the culmination of the first phase of developing this framework through the Water Research Commission (WRC) funded project, "Sanitation Demand and Delivery in Informal Settlements - Planning and Implementation Support". The Framework is intended for application in planning and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of delivery by facilitating the development of implementation guidelines.

The document does not propose a "quick fix" for the suggested change of paradigm that is needed for approaching delivery strategically. Accepting that there are financial and legal constraints to be addressed, the focus of the Framework is to facilitate the building of capacity and changing of roles, including the recognition that communities are key activists in sanitation improvements and sustainability.

The challenge for strategic approaches to sanitation provision is to move forward in ways that are appropriate to the task in hand, and that respect the way in which knowledge and skills are distributed amongst the stakeholders. It has thus been imperative that stakeholders with a direct interest have been involved in the research. The value of this report ultimately relies on the will that resides within local authorities, service providers and the communities who will actively take up the challenge to engage in developing delivery models.

Strategic sanitation planning is based on three strategic elements, suggesting that the development of three strategic programmes require planning within, and across, the relevant local authority departments. The associated key programme elements are those that have emerged from the research of current approaches in the City of Cape Town. Identifying these programme elements further enable strategic planning as an initial step. Implementation of strategic plans will facilitate the development of delivery models and the refinement of guidelines for replication.

Planning and Implementation Phases of the Support Framework are further illustrated in introducing the body of the report, which endeavors to present the product in a logical sequence. Further understanding will be derived through the active process of application that is inherent in this action research methodology.