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Introducing the SANTE project

Published on: 08/07/2013

The Sanitation Technology for Enterprises (SANTE) applied research project aims to identify safe sustainable solutions for sanitation in high water table areas, rocky areas and flood prone areas in Bangladesh.

The BRAC WASH II research call for low-cost sanitation technologies for areas with high groundwater tables was won by WASTE Advisers on urban environment and development, based in The Netherlands. Their project is called SANTE which stands for Sanitation Technology for Enterprises.

The SANTE applied research project aims to identify safe sustainable solutions for sanitation in high water table areas, rocky areas and flood prone areas in Bangladesh, where the pour-flush latrine with water seal is not a feasible or durable option.

WASTE is working together with nine partner organisations: The Solutions Centre (India), Practical Action (Bangladesh), FINISH Society (India), Hope for the Poorest (Bangladesh), Uttaran (Bangladesh), BETS Consulting Services Ltd. (Bangladesh), PSTC Population Services and Training Center (Bangladesh), UNESCO-IHE (Netherlands), and Tauw BV (Netherlands).

Sub-objectives of the project are:

  • To identify safe sanitation technologies and solutions (adaptation of existing well-known toilet systems and by combining existing technologies into a new type of system) with involvement of local entrepreneurs;
  • To identify new innovative sanitation technologies and solutions for Bangladesh;
  • To disseminate lessons learned on safe sanitation solutions among local, regional, national and international stakeholders.

Background (text by Kathy Shordt)

Beginning in 2006, the BRAC WASH programme in Bangladesh has been dedicated to integrating sanitation, hygiene and water components in a programme targeting the poor and ultra poor and ensuring participation of women at all levels. With its predominant emphasis on sanitation and hygiene, the programme focuses on 250 Upazillas (sub-districts, with an average population of 300,000) in which the predominant sanitation technology has been the single and double-pit pour-flush latrine with water seal. 

However, this traditional technology is often unsuitable for coastal, water-logged and river delta areas with very high water tables as well as hilly areas with hard laterite and rocky soils. Challenges include difficulties in construction below the ground level, flooding so that latrines cannot be used and potential cross-contamination from the latrine pit to drinking water sources.

To find solutions for these challenges the BRAC WASH II programme sent out a research call for proposals for innovative, simple and low-cost sanitation technologies, which are suitable for the different hydro-geographical and socio-cultural conditions in Bangladesh.

The proposed sanitation technologies had to meet the following criteria: 


  • Low-cost including low operation and maintenance costs to poor consumers in terms of finance and effort


  • Durability and suitability to local conditions with high water table, flooding, difficulties in construction below the ground as well as areas prone to cross-contamination to shallow wells
  • Different technologies may be applicable for different hydro-geographical zones of Bangladesh
  • Durability and sustainability through the rainy season
  • Ease of operation/maintenance with few requirements for continuing external material inputs
  • Safe disposal and/or reuse: the sanitation technology should take into account the transport of waste matter and its subsequent treatment and disposal or reuse.


  • Ease of use for men, women and children of all ages
  • For acceptability, the technology and design should minimize the number of new practices required by the user.

This is one of six innovative research projects undertaken as part of the BRAC WASH programme in Bangladesh.