The selection of suitable sanitation options is a complex issue. There are many factors that influence the performance of each system. Sanitation suitable for use in low-income housing areas in developing countries is normally based on a combination of options specific to the local context. That makes it really difficult to develop an effective tool for decision-making. To date, decision support tools have failed to make a long-term impact on the choice for sanitation services in rural as well as urban and peri-urban settlements in developing countries. Most relate the choice of a sanitation option to one element (i.e. septic tank or pit latrine) rather than considering the sanitation system as a whole. Some lack transparency or are guided by personal choices and assumptions, which can include as well as exclude relevant aspects for the selection of sanitation systems. Decision-models are generally complex to understand and use and sometimes seem inconsistent. WASTE in collaboration with international experts is developing a practical support instrument to facilitate informed choice of sanitation systems. The tool is a knowledge sharing or awareness mechanism intended to provide a more comprehensive view of a settlement's limitations on the one hand and available sanitation options on the other. It intends to assist a wide range of stakeholders from city officials, planners, CBO's, users, service providers to financial and political authorities. Furthermore WASTE wants to present a practitioner's tool that uses a three-step approach providing a simple interface, flexible framework and transparent outcome. This support tool can be used independently, integrated in strategic sanitation planning as well as provide the base-ground for the selection of sanitation options in a multi-stakeholder participatory process.

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