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Published on: 12/09/2012

The course was developed to assist governments, NGOs, donors and individuals to plan and budget for sustainable and equitable WASH services, using a life-cycle cost approach (LCCA). The course is helping participants to answer the following questions:

  • Is my service delivery model sustainable over time?
  • Who is paying for what costs over time?
  • What service level will my delivery model achieve?

There are only a few places left in the second edition of the “Costing Sustainable Services” online course, which starts 19 November 2012. Register today to secure your place. The third edition of the course will start on 10 December 2012. 

The course consists of three modules:

  • Module 1 What is a life-cycle cost approach? introduces the main concepts of life-cycle costing, its underlying principles and key components.
  • Module 2 Using a life-cycle cost approach? gives ideas and tools on how life-cycle costing can be integrated in a participant’s work and organisation.
  • Module 3 Analysing a life-cycle cost approach? explains how to analyse life-cycle costs and service levels of water and sanitation

Each module consists of a number of sessions, each explaining key components of the life-cycle cost approach methodology, combining exercises with reading materials. Some sessions include videos and online webinars. There are separate materials for water, sanitation and hygiene. Depending on individual knowledge and interest, participants can choose which sessions, exercises or reading materials are useful.

After registering, each participant will receive login details and a password to access course material. Participants start at their own pace from 19 November by logging in and following the module of their choice. We suggest that participants follow the 1, 2, 3 order of the modules described above, but can select any module to start or switch between modules. The course material guides participants through the modules and exercises completing them at their own pace.

Each module takes between 8 – 16 hours to complete depending on whether all sessions and exercises are followed for the water, sanitation and hygiene components. Participants have 3 months to complete one module to receive the certificate for successful completion of that module. If participants do not log in for more than 3 months the account will be closed and participants will have to re-register to follow a module and repeat all exercises in order to receive a certificate.


In the online course participants work mainly on their own, but support is available through a question and answer forum, where participants can leave questions and see what other participants have asked (and the answers). IRC staff aim to answer questions in this forum within 48 hours. Participants are also free to leave their own comments and answers in the forum. Interaction with other participants is also possible in various exercises in the course.

At set weeks throughout the year, IRC staff will be available to give more intensive support, during which time they will be available every weekday at pre-determined time slots for a live chat session. During these weeks questions posed in the forum will be answered within 24 hours. In 2012 intensive support from IRC staff is available between:

  • Monday 19th November – Friday 23th November

An IRC certificate is available per module. Certificates can be downloaded by a participant after successful completion of each module, including passing a test on the module and filling in an evaluation form. For successful completion of the test participants need to answers at least 8 out of the 10 questions correctly. Tests can be repeated as often as needed.

As it is the first year that this course is running, the course is a beta version and will be finalished with user feedback by the beginning of 2013.

Some key points:

  • The course is free.
  • The course is in English.
  • An internet connection is required.

Please contact for further information.

Jeske Verhoeven

26 September 2012; updated 19 October 2012



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