Seed to Scale Sanitation Uprgading in Informal Settlements
Challenging hackers to help automate a simulation to use to convince decision makers about radically pragmatic sanitation upgrading options
Rapid urbanisation is driving a mushrooming of informal settlements in South African cities. This requires the government to step up the pace of service delivery in informal settlements. Although there are capital subsidies available, they are insufficient relative to the magintude of the challenge.
We need to work out how to make limited capital subsidies sweat. We need to be thinking how a subsidised investment in 100 toilets in 2013 can lead to 1000 toilets by 2015. We need to show that this is possible if we close the water-nutrient-energy loop that sanitation find itself at the center of. Shit has value at the household level if people need fuel to cook with. Rewiring household expenditures, leveraging subsidies, monetising benefits from downstream users… these are the blended revenue streams that we think might back capital expansion. But we need to show this.
The “Seed to Scale” model asks how, in a single settlement, we can go from a fractional investment (the seed) in sanitation infrastructure to the point of full coverage (to scale).
A simulation exists based on the work we’ve done over the past two years in Enkanini, an informal settlement in Stellenbosch. What is needed now is to automate this model so that we can test the concepts across different contexts. The model will be used to communicate, to both users and decision makers, the logic of the fractional investment upgrading strategy and will substantiate the case in favour of further experimentation toward practical sanitation upgrading strategies.
An automated version of the Seed to Scale model will amplify the impact of the ongoing action research toward finding workable logics for upgrading sanitation in informal settlements. The Seed to Scale model contains the logic for an entirely new way of delivering basic sanitation infrastructure to the urban poor. After 30 years of virtually ineffective sanitation development interventions we need to seriously invest in the knowledge underpinning and experiementation in radically pragmatic sanitation delivery mechanisms.