SaniSelect: A Decision-Making Tool by Akin Akinsete
Local governments in South Africa are mandated by the Constitution to provide basic water and sanitation services to homes and communities. Service delivery challenges have been well documented and evident from the constant service delivery protests across the country. Municipal engineers and other technical personnel are often at the coalface of these challenges and are not well equipped. While there are existing and emerging solutions to address these challenges, issues such as skills shortage, manpower capacity and rigid procurement policies are chief barriers to adopting these solutions.
To address these challenges, a research study was undertaken by SASTEP to evaluate these barriers and to develop tools that can assist with removing them. The project was undertaken by Partners in Development. Project outputs included a suite of tools that are geared towards improving understanding of the change occurring in the current sanitation value chain landscape due to emerging technologies and the options available to municipalities, with an intended outcome of empowering municipalities, WSAs, and WSPs to deploy emerging sanitation solutions in addition to traditional approaches.
SaniSelect, a decision-making tool, was developed as part of the project. It is currently an excel based tool but there are plans for a web-based version that is available as PC and mobile phone applications. A workshop was held on September 5, 2022, to disseminate project outputs and train sanitation sector engineers on the SaniSelect tool. Participants solved a sanitation question, and a take-home assignment was provided. The first 10 submissions of the assignment will receive WRC branded goodies. The guideline and selection tool was developed in response to requests from municipal partners and it is hoped the uptake of these valuable tools will spur the adoption of innovative and appropriate solutions, leading to improved sanitation service delivery and achieving SDG-6 targets.