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ACCESSanitation Self-Study Tool

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Home > Learning Resources > ACCESSanitation Self-Study Tool

The ACCESSanitation Self-Study Tool is specifically designed for local governments and WASH organizations to be used as a pool of resources to support planning and implementation of sustainable water and sanitation interventions at the local level in order to improve services provided to the unserved.

The primary output of ACCESSanitation is a community action plan that is drafted and implemented following endorsement through the local council in word or pdf format. A Community Action Plan is a road map for implementing community change by identifying and specifying what will be done, who will do it and how it will be done. In other words, the Action Plan describes what the community wants to accomplish, what activities are required during a specified timeline and what resources (money, people and materials) are needed to be successful.

Additionally, each self-study module provides a collection of further readings, case studies, awareness raising material, and training material. These materials are available in Word, Excel, or PDF format.

The ACCESSanitation Self-Study Tool is a self-learning tool that can be used as a pool of resources or as a support for planning and implementing projects. The Toolbox structures ‘the best of’ the available material that support users for a more holistic planning and implementation of water and sanitation interventions at the local level. This is achieved through the development of local capacity to plan, design and implement sustainable sanitation systems and by launching campaigns to raise awareness on improved hygiene practices.

The tool has been split into the following 15 self-study modules:

  • Module 01: Sustainable Sanitation
  • Module 02: Linking up Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management
  • Module 03: Water, Sanitation and Environment
  • Module 04: Water, Sanitation and Gender
  • Module 05: Health and Hygiene Issues
  • Module 06: Water, Sanitation and Economy
  • Module 07: Policies and Legal Framework
  • Module 08: City Sanitation Plans
  • Module 09: Assessment, Implementation & Management
  • Module 10: Demand Creation & Soc. Marketing
  • Module 11: Developing Human Resources
  • Module 12: Planning with the Community
  • Module 13: Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Module 14: Financing and Sources of Funding
  • Module 15: Urban SSWM ("softwares" and "hardwares")


Local governments often experience problems in implementation when inter-departmental issues are worked on in siloes. To counter this, ACCESSanitation has made available the Local government Specific Topic Entry Page (STEP) for Urban Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management. This tool provides local governments information on the interconnectivity between the different elements of the urban water cycle and the need to adopt an integrated and participatory planning approach in order to manage water more sustainably at the local level.

Additionally, the ACCESSanitation toolkit provides and operation and maintenance manual for sanitation facilities and guidelines for raising awareness on sanitation.

ACCESSanitation is time intensive because the capacity development activities consist of face-to-face and web-based training, individual coaching and national workshops for cities help build the capacity of the actors involved.

Within the planning process, it is of prime importance to collect baseline data in order to determine the requirements for an appropriate sanitation and water system in the project area. The collected background information will provide the basis for the software or hardware intervention. The planning process should be accomplished in participatory and comprehensive manner. Conducting an integral evaluation and collecting technical information on the existing systems are the first steps within this process

The Community Action Plan requires the inputs through the following stages: identifying the problems, needs, and resource potential; determining the priority in problems and needs; formulating the choice of strategy; formulating the choice of action; formulating the implementation plan; formulating the monitoring and evaluation plan; and implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

The key element of Community Action Planning is an active, intense community-based workshop, carried out over a time period of 2 to 5 days, depending on the specific objectives of the workshop. The execution of the workshop requires a minimum of preparation, materials and training. Of prime importance is a motivated community and a confident moderator/facilitator/organizer who can take the lead in assuring that announcements are made, participants identified, a location selected, a few materials collected, and finally in running the workshop. However, most of the preparation should be done by the community itself. Materials required are limited to markers of some kind, large sheets of paper (any kind: wrapping paper, newsprint, cardboard, unfolded boxes), and a place for display of outputs. The location for the workshop should be in the community and easy accessible, rather than in government offices. Example locations have included formal classrooms.

ACCESSanitation is particularly pertinent in regard to the ‘Urban Water Management’ and ‘Urban Transition Management’ Modules of the SUSTAIN project.

The inter-disciplinary and nuanced approaches to governance covered within the self-study modules can provide strong insight into: the complexity of sustainability issues, understanding and diagnosing comprehensive problems, and urban transition management.  Moreover, the ACCESSanitation suite of tools draws on multidisciplinary knowledge, and provides valuable perspectives in regard to: the relationship between water, urban development and climate change, various approaches and trends to water management, and strategic assistance for diagnosing problems and generating solutions.

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