Sector Governance in Urban Sanitation


This e-Learning course is based on material written 2008 by Samir Bensaid (Governance and Sanitation), Nils Janson (Financing of Sanitation), and Fadhel Ghariani (Institutional Aspects) on behalf of United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and World Bank Institute (WBISD); all of the material has been fully updated in 2013/14.

Emphasis of the course is not on technical solutions but on organizational, economical and financial aspects of sanitation and the institutional framework which needs to be considered when planing for sanitation systems.

Target User & Objectives of the Course

Target users are from the senior managers and supervisors level in water and sanitation utilities or in local, federal or national government entities, and may also come from other water related associations, NGOs etc. The training wants to enhance the capacity of local decision-makers to make the most efficient, effective and equitable use of investments in sanitation.

Structure of the Course

The e-learning course is divided into three (3) modules. «Introduction to Governance & Sanitation» describes the background and highlights the importance of sanitation in general. There are also lessons about the role of sanitation in the fight against poverty and HIV and about the Sustainable Sanitation approach.

The «Economics, Pricing & Financing» module describes the financial considerations when planning for sanitation systems, such as costs, sources of financing, loans, tariffs and subsidies etc.

The final module «Institutional Aspects» shows roles and functions of the different stakeholders from the public and the private sector. At the end of the course, participants should be able to describe and evaluate the sanitation networks in their home towns and to develop organizational and financial strategies to enhance existing or to establish new sanitation systems.

The course outline [see PDF in the box on the right] gives a full list of all lessons.

Course Components & Timeframe

The e-Learning course is designed for a total learning time of 6 weeks. The course is supposed to be used on an extra-occupational basis. Beside their daily work, participants should calculate with one (1) hour per day to browse through the reading material and to develop the description of a strategy.

Beside the interactive presentation of the learning content, the course includes Webinars, Multiple Choice Tests and Exchange Forums for a collaborative group work.

Pre-Requisites to Join the Course

Professional Background: Senior managers and supervisors in water and sanitation utilities or local, federal, national governmental units, NGOs or other water related organizations.

Workload: Around 6 hours per week in order to complete the course successfully.

Technical environment: Up-to-date browser and a stable internet connection to read the course and work together with other participants on the individual system templates. Also required: a headset to join the interactive web-sessions.


Successful participants receive a certificate issued by the SWIM Sustain Water MED coordination office and the GIZ. To receive a certificate, participants have to

  • Join two (of three) interactive webinars, 
  • Successfully complete the Multiple Choice Tests (at least 60%) at the end of each module
  • Develop a description of the current state of the local sanitation environment and a strategy to enhance the situation
  • Actively take part in the working groups