Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If the answer to your question is not in our FAQ section, please post it on the SuSanA forum.

This is a compilation of frequently asked questions about the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA).
If you have any further questions, please contact us.

About the SuSanA network

Technical questions

FAQs for people who want to become a member or for organisations who want to become a partner

FAQs for existing members and partner organisations

About the SuSanA network

What is SuSanA?

SuSanA is an informal network of partner organisations (the current number of partners is displayed at the bottom of this page) who share a common vision on sustainable sanitation. SuSanA came into existence in early 2007 and works as a coordination platform, working platform, sounding board, contributor to the policy dialogue on sustainable sanitation and as a “catalyst”. At the present time, the secretariat function is carried out by GIZ (German International Cooperation) in Eschborn, Germany. Participation is open to those who want to join and be active in the promotion of sustainable sanitation systems. SuSanA invites international, regional and local organisations to join the network, contribute ideas, and to become active in the thematic working groups.

Is SuSanA an organisation?

The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance is not an organisation, but rather a loose network of partner organisations and individuals working along the same lines towards sustainable sanitation. SuSanA is open to all who want to join and be active in the promotion of sustainable sanitation systems.

What are the goals and objectives of SuSanA?

The overall goal of SuSanA is to contribute to the achievement of the MDGs in 2015 and beyond by promoting sanitation systems which take into consideration all aspects of sustainability. The objectives are detailed here.     

What is the structure of SuSanA?

The structure of SuSanA consists of SuSanA's partner organisations, working groups, core group, individual members and the secretariat. All partner organisations contribute their work and resources to the network at their own expense. SuSanA has two large meetings per year (one in the global North and one in the global South) and also organises side events at major conferences.

How does SuSanA take decisions?

All decisions about SuSanA to date, were taken within the SuSanA meetings and are documented in the minutes of the meetings which can be downloaded from the website here. Since mid 2008, we have a SuSanA core group  which can also take operational decisions outside of the general meeting dates. Refer to the "How we work" section for more insights into how decisions are taken.

 How are SuSanA documents endorsed by the partners?

All final draft documents are circulated amongst the partners and members by the SuSanA secretariat for final comments. Partner organisations that do not agree with a certain document should give a brief feedback on their points of disagreement. Feedback will be taken into consideration and if it is decided to go ahead without making changes to the final draft, then organisations that do not agree can choose to have their logo omitted from the logo set for this specific document (if the document contains the logo set).

When did SuSanA start?

Motivated by the UN’s decision to declare 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation (IYS), GIZ together with several other organisations took the initiative to form a task force to contribute to the promotion and up-scaling of sustainable sanitation. In January 2007, a first meeting in Eschborn, Germany, resulted in a large number of commitments by the participants from various organisations (see minutes of the first meeting here), and in drawing up a first draft of a "joint road map for the promotion of sustainable sanitation in IYS 2008".

In order to have a joint label for the planned activities, and to be able to align with other potential initiatives, the group gave itself the name "Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)".

Who is managing the secretariat of SuSanA?

As agreed in the 5th SuSanA meeting in Durban in 2008, GIZ is responsible for carrying out the secretariat function of the SuSanA. If you are a SuSanA partner organisation and are interested in being active in the SuSanA secretariat, or even take it over please contact the SuSanA secretariat.

 What are the roles and functions of the SuSanA secretariat?

The SuSanA secretariat facilitates and coordinates the organisation and development of SuSanA. The main functions of the SuSana secretariat are to prepare or support the preparation of SuSanA meetings, to network with the working groups and working group leads, facilitate the development of SuSanA publications, to produce the SuSanA website DVD and to manage the SuSanA partners.

How is SuSanA financed?

SuSanA is an open network based on voluntary contributions and has no legal structure. It has also no separate budget and does not provide funding. Organisations which host SuSanA meetings may obtain financial support from other SuSanA partners.

Are any sponsorships available from SuSanA?

There are no SuSanA sponsorships available, but some partners do offer travel sponsorships for individuals to be able to participate in SuSanA meetings.

We need funding. Can you provide us with funding?

SuSanA does not provide funding as it is not an organisation, just a network. Some of SuSanA´s partners are funding agencies, which could be contacted for funding if your ideas fit with their application schemes.

Does SuSanA offer or have job vacancies?

As SuSanA is not an organisation, it does offer or have any job vacancies. However, SuSanA partners may offer job vacancies, which can be found on their own websites or on the SuSanA website here.

What can I find on the SuSanA website?

The SuSanA website provides various kinds of resources on sustainable sanitation:
  • Eleven thematic working groups cover a variety of different sanitation aspects and provide deliverables that underline the problems and possible solutions.
  • Case studies for sustainable sanitation projects from all over the world are published on the SuSanA website and are categorised according to region, technology, setting (rural or urban), reuse type, and school sanitation systems.
  • Publications from various organisations and sources which follow the open-source concept for capacity building and non-profit use.
  • Presentations from various conferences.
  • Teaching tools, technical drawings, design guidelines and training materials from different organisations.
  • A collection of videos and photos related to sustainable sanitation.
  • News, upcoming events and job opportunities.
  • Newsletters, publication databases and many other resources from different organisations.

My internet connection is slow, how can I get information material offline?

SuSanA offers an offline version of the website with most of the materials on a DVD which can be ordered free of charge.

What are the communication channels of SuSanA?

You can follow SuSanA's activities and updates and participate in the discussion about sustainable sanitation through various communication channels:

What is the SuSanA discussion forum?

The SuSanA discussion forum is an open discussion forum on all topics related to sustainable sanitation. A description of the ideas behind the establishment of the forum can be read here. If you wish to read more about frequently asked questions in relation to the forum you can read further here.

 Technical questions

I want to construct toilets. Where can I find information?

The portal for practitioners provides information and resource material for people planning and/or implementing sanitation projects. You can find information on existing projects, technical drawings, manuals and guidelines for planning. 

Is sustainable sanitation the same as ecosan?

No, sustainable sanitation and ecosan are not exactly the same. The main objective of sustainable sanitation is to protect and promote human health by providing a clean environment and breaking the cycle of disease. In order to be sustainable, a sanitation system has to be not only economically viable, socially acceptable, and technically and institutionally appropriate, it should also protect the environment and the natural resources. Ecosan systems also strive for sustainability but focus in particular on one of these criteria namely the resource protection via recovery of nutrients contained in excreta and household wastewater and on their safe reuse in agriculture. Information and documents concerning the ecosan concept can be found here.

FAQs for people who want to become a member or for organisations who want to become partners

How does my organisation benefit from being a partner?

As a partner, SuSanA will help your organisation keep in touch with other active international and local organisations concerned with sustainable sanitation all over the world. This networking will help you keep updated with all the news in the sustainable sanitation field. You can also start shaping SuSanA by getting involved in SuSanA meetings, working groups and the core group.

Furthermore, SuSanA partners are frequently sharing the costs of exhibition booths at conferences and events. Smaller SuSanA partners usually can display their flyers and materials at the SuSanA booth free of charge. This is a service to SuSanA partners, but please contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it in advance of such an event.

How can my organisation become a partner?

To register your organisation as a partner, click here. Please note that your partnership application will need to be approved by the SuSanA secretariat based on the information you supply.

Which ways do I have to join SuSanA?

SuSanA invites individuals and organisations to join the network, contribute ideas, and become active members in the thematic working groups. Click here to see further information on how to join.

As an individual (without representing a specific organisation), can I join SuSanA?

Yes you can, individuals can register as a member here. Being a member will keep you informed about news, events, updates, publications, jobs etc. You can also start writing in the SuSanA open discussion forum, see the recent topics being discussed here. Please also join us on facebook by clicking "like" on our page. We post short status updates on our facebook wall every few days and you can also write comments and questions on our facebook wall.

What is the difference between a partner and a member?

A member is an individual person. A partner is an organisation (with a specific person named as being the main contact person; usually this contact person is also registered as a member).


Is there a registration fee to become a partner or member of SuSanA?

No, there is no fee for being a partner or member of SuSanA.

Who are the partners of SuSanA and how many are there?

A comprehensive list of SuSanA partners with contact details and searchable by region or country is available on our partners page. Here you can also find one contact person for each partner organisation. The total number of partners and the SuSanA logo set is displayed on the bottom of this page.


FAQs for existing members and partner organisations

Who is in the SuSanA core group, what does it do and can I also join it?

The SuSanA core group is made up of individuals who are working group leads, co-leads, members of the secretariat or other professionals who volunteer their time to provide the network with strategic direction and advice. The main functions of the core group are related to planning meetings and events, proposing future strategies and making operational decisions in between the general meeting dates. Membership is limited but possible upon request. You may send an e-mail to the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , stating your willingness and motivation to be part of the core group.

I am new to a working group, what can I do?

New members of working groups should contact the respective working group lead to introduce themselves and to get active in the working group. On each working group´s main page, you can find the working group leads of each group, their photos and a short video to highlight some of the relevant issues. You can also start taking part in the discussions of the working group in the discussion forum.

How do I contact the working groups?

On each working group´s main page, you can find the group´s lead and co-lead with e-mail addresses and their photo.

I have joined as a member/partner and would like to volunteer… what can I do?

Please contact us, and tell us briefly about your experiences and knowledge, and we will write back to you within a few days. Please note that SuSanA is a network and does not implement its own projects. You may wish to contact some of the SuSanA partners directly.

I have sent my partner details and logo. But I do not see the logo on the website or on the publications!

It normally takes us only a few days to add your organisation to the partner list, provided you have sent us all the information we need. Please contact us if nothing has happened after one week (in case we did not recieve your e-mail or something went wrong with the uploading). Adding logos to the publications will take place the next time a publication is updated (for those publications which include the logo set).

I forgot my login or password, how can I retrieve it?

Click on the "forgot my password" or "forgot my username" on the right side of the login page to retrieve your password or login. Please enter your registered email address to receive a new password by email.

How can I change my registered e-mail address in the login area?

After you have logged into SuSanA, you can change your details under "my details" in the lower navigation bar on the left side.
SuSanA Partners
(currently 231 partners)