Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development

Sustainable Implementation of City-wide Inclusive Sanitation

Appropriate urban sanitation planning includes a design approach for adequate sanitation infrastructure, and is a key element in the protection of public and environmental health. It is also important to keep in mind that technologies are only one aspect of city-wide inclusive sanitation, and that the water, sanitation, and solid waste sectors are closely related and have many interactions between their respective service chains. Appropriate measures for monitoring need to be in place to ensure adequate protection of public health, and to evaluate progress and needs (e.g. achieving SDGs). The research group Management of Excreta, Wastewater, and Sludge (MEWS) contributes to the development, testing and analysis of tools and guidelines, in order to improve uptake and use of sanitation services. For our activities in this area see the below publication list, and our webpage on Q&Q. Examples include the following.

WHO (World Health Organization) collaborating centre (CC) on water, sanitation and health

MEWS participates in the WHO CC, and contributes research outputs that are targeted at academics and policy makers, as well as sector practitioners. Examples include contributing to the WHO Guidelines on Sanitation and Health, adapting Q&Q approaches for monitoring, and Safe Management of Onsite Sanitation Services (SMOSS) expert group meetings.

SFD (shit flow diagram) Promotion Initiative

A first step towards providing adequate sanitation services in urban areas is to monitor the sanitation service chain, to identify its strengths and weaknesses, from containment, including emptying, transport, treatment and safe disposal or resource recovery. SFDs can help achieve this by offering a new and innovative way to engage sanitation experts, political leaders and civil society in coordinated discussions about excreta management in their city. MEWS has been a key partner in the development of the SFD methodology, and continues to contribute as a member of the steering committee.

Monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions, and carbon credits

Understanding anaerobic digestion is key to mitigating the production of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from onsite containments. Container-based sanitation (CBS) solutions are also a promising option for sustainable management of sanitation. Many CBS businesses are on their way to self-sustaining business models, but not fully financially self-sufficient. One possibility to improve profitability could be funding through carbon credits. However, there is not yet a method for calculating carbon credits for CBS. 

RRR (Resource, Recovery, and Reuse)

Recovery and safe reuse models of resources generated from liquid and solid waste streams can be utilized in order to promote food security, cost recovery in the sanitation sector, and provide livelihood opportunities, while safeguarding public health and the environment in poor urban and peri-urban areas. Our work in this area includes contributing to the IWMI publication, Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries.

Evaluation and Monitoring of Faecal Sludge Treatment plants (eFSTP) in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa

Evidence-based recommendations and guidelines to optimise the design, operation, maintenance and management of FSTPs. Based on field visits to 23 FSTPs in 8 countries, the main challenges that need to be address to prevent failures are:

  • Institutional recognition: In general, institutional frameworks for the regulation of FSM are not well established.
  • Quantities and Qualities (Q&Q) of faecal sludge: Q&Q of faecal sludge are highly variable, which greatly complicates operation.
  • Capacity for operation: O&M is one of the most common reasons for failure of FSTPs, and financial resources for FSM are lacking.
  • Design for operation: There is little to no information available on the actual operation of FSTPs.
  • Communication: Coordination and communication between the stakeholders throughout the entire FSM service chain remains a challenge.


  • WEDC Loughborough University
  • GIZ
  • University of Leeds
  • CSE
  • World Bank WSP
  • BMGF
  • SuSanA
  • MOSAN, Santa Catarina Palopó, Guatemala
  • 500B, Enpho, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Hanoi University of Technology, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan


Previous funding BMGF, SDC, SECO (PURR project), SPLASH (FaME project), Symphasis Foundation and REPIC (SEEK project)


Narayan, A. S.; Marks, S. J.; Meierhofer, R.; Strande, L.; Tilley, E.; Zurbrügg, C.; Lüthi, C. (2021) Advancements in and integration of water, sanitation, and solid waste for low- and middle-income countries, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 46, 193-219, doi:10.1146/annurev-environ-030620-042304, Institutional Repository
Peal, A.; Evans, B.; Ahilan, S.; Ban, R.; Blackett, I.; Hawkins, P.; Schoebitz, L.; Scott, R.; Sleigh, A.; Strande, L.; Veses, O. (2020) Estimating safely managed sanitation in urban areas; lessons learned from a global implementation of excreta-flow diagrams, Frontiers in Environmental Science, 8, 1 (13 pp.), doi:10.3389/fenvs.2020.00001, Institutional Repository
Fischer, M.; Nguyen, M.; Strande, L. (2019) Context matters: horizontal and hierarchical network governance structures in Vietnam's sanitation sector, Ecology and Society, 24(3), 17 (14 pp.), doi:10.5751/ES-11036-240317, Institutional Repository
Apoya, P.; Bartram, J.; Bhagwan, J.; Burgers, L.; Byigero, A.; Callahan, K.; Castiglia Feitosa, R.; Clasen, T.; Cumming, O.; Dreibelbis, R.; Hawkins, P.; Huda, T.; Hueso, A.; Hunter, P.; Kolsky, P.; Kome, A.; Kyomuhangi, J.; Madiath, J.; Mogol, G.; Norman, G.; Ombacho, K.; Peal, A.; Petterson, S.; Pintos, O.; Ravaloson, A.; Rehfuess, E.; Roaf, V.; Rosenboom, J.-W.; Strande, L.; Wijesuriya, G. (2018) Guidelines on sanitation and health, 198 p, Institutional Repository
Bassan, M.; Koné, D.; Mbéguéré, M.; Holliger, C.; Strande, L. (2015) Success and failure assessment methodology for wastewater and faecal sludge treatment projects in low-income countries, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 58(10), 1690-1710, doi:10.1080/09640568.2014.943343, Institutional Repository
Diener, S.; Semiyaga, S.; Niwagaba, C. B.; Muspratt, A. M.; Gning, J. B.; Mbéguéré, M.; Ennin, J. E.; Zurbrugg, C.; Strande, L. (2014) A value proposition: resource recovery from faecal sludge—can it be the driver for improved sanitation?, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 88(1), 32-38, doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2014.04.005, Institutional Repository
Bassan, M.; Dao, N.; Nguyen, V. A.; Holliger, C.; Strande, L. (2014) Technologies for sanitation: how to determine appropriate sludge treatment strategies in Vietnam, In: WEDC conference 37, 2018 (6 pp.), Institutional Repository
Bassan, M.; Mbéguéré, M.; Tchonda, T.; Zabsonre, F.; Strande, L. (2013) Integrated faecal sludge management scheme for the cities of Burkina Faso, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 3(2), 216-221, doi:10.2166/washdev.2013.156, Institutional Repository
Dodane, P. H.; Mbéguéré, M.; Sow, O.; Strande, L. (2012) Capital and operating costs of full-scale fecal sludge management and wastewater treatment systems in Dakar, Senegal, Environmental Science and Technology, 46(7), 3705-3711, doi:10.1021/es2045234, Institutional Repository

Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Otoo, M.; Drechsel, P. (Eds.) 2018.  Oxon, UK: Routledge – Earthscan. 816p.


Looking beyond technology to provide adequate and sustainable sanitation in low income countries. Tilley, E., Strande, L., Lüthi, C., Mosler, H.-J., Udert, K., Gebauer, H., Hering, J.G. Environmental Science & Technology 48(17) 9965–9970, 2014.

Capacity strengthening in sanitation: benefits of a research - operator collaboration. Bassan, M., Strande, L. 35th WEDC International Conference, Loughborough University, 2011.