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Published on: 22/10/2013

Ten stages in the sanitation life cycle

The ten stages are:

  • Preparations for programmes
  • Creating sustained demand
  • Enabling informed choices
  • Facilitating financing
  • Providing supply services
  • Services for hygienic use
  • Services for maintenance, repair and upgrading
  • Services to empty, treat and use
  • Monitoring and feedback
  • Sanitation Governance

This collection of e-documents features materials and tools that IRC and partners have developed from the mid-1980s until now. The focus was, and remains, on how to give all people access to improved sanitation and hygiene now and forever.

Preparations for programmes

In SanPack, programme preparations covers six stages to prepare service delivery programmes for non-sewered sanitation to rural and urban populations:

More information on preparations for programmes is available in a separate section. 

Creating sustained demand


Creating demand from households and communities to become Open Defecation Free and build, use, maintain and renew/upgrade toilets can be done through different programmes:

Enabling informed choices

This section looks into:

Facilitating financing

At local level both small providers and consumers need access to financing mechanisms and information to make an informed choice.

Providing supply services

Sanitation entrepreneurship is a key factor in achieving sustained sanitation for all across the life-cycle chain. Case studies from locations all over the world have shown that sanitation can be a viable business. It can also be self-sustaining.

Services for hygienic use

Use depends on the quality of the whole preceding process. Supply-driven programmes, not based on household demand and participation, resulted in toilets that are not completed and used or used for other purposes. The sanitation and hygiene services should however be sustained over time.

Services for maintenance, repair and upgrading

Toilets need maintenance if they are not to fall into disrepair. A 3-country study showed that households spent US$ 0 to US$ 3 per toilet per year on maintenance. In more urban areas and for more expensive toilets this was up to US$ 20 per year.

Services to empty, treat and use

So far, sanitation policies and programmes seldom address the full cycle and full-cycle services. This oversight contributes to the continued practice of unsafe emptying and end-disposal either by the households themselves or by the formal and informal services sector.

Monitoring and feedback

Monitoring is the collection, organisation and use of information about the current situation in comparison with the planned or expected situation. The information can be used for checking and control, for problem solving and planning and as management tool by community members, staff and programme managers.

Sanitation Governance

Governance is the umbrella term for the processes by which decisions are made and implemented. It is the result of interactions, relationships and networks in and between the different sectors -government, public sector, private sector and civil society - for ensuring optimal services.

Target groups

The target groups for SanPack are the same groups that IRC has served throughout its existence:

  • practitioners and managers of sanitation improvement programmes
  • government and NGO staff dealing with sanitation policies, strategies and services
  • researchers searching for data on results and impacts from approaches and programmes
  • trainers involved in building capacities in a life-cycle approach to non-sewered sanitation

For more information contact Tettje van Daalen at (editor)



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