Skip to main content

Institutional and Organizational Contexts for Sustainable Innovations in Sanitation

Buy Article:

$17.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Or sign up for a free trial


Whether novel concepts for sustainable sanitation will be successful crucially depends on how well they are embedded into existing contexts. Such contexts, or environments, encompass a multitude of aspects: geographic and economic conditions, regulatory frameworks, existing infrastructures, societal values and norms, user preferences and established practices, organizational competences etc. Due to the number and variety of these context factors it is a challenge to track and adequately incorporate them when setting up novel sanitation projects. What makes this challenge even larger is that the various context characteristics are located at different levels including the local, regional and national level but also different sectors (e.g. water supply, waste management). Furthermore, contexts are often not coherent, which means that there might be conflicting demands or conditions novel approaches have to deal with.

This chapter takes a closer look at the various dimensions of the context sanitation projects have to be embedded in. We will first develop a tool for systematically identifying and mapping the context factors and elaborate on some of the key challenges and reasons why projects fail. In the second part of the chapter, we illustrate our approach as we explain how context factors lead to the failure of a project directed at decentralized sanitation in the city of Kunming (China). The chapter concludes with major lessons on the role of context factors and a preliminary set of conditions to be fulfilled for ‘enabling environments’ that favour sustainable sanitation concepts.

Keywords: China; Innovation; Institutions; Organizations; Sanitation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access.
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more