11th Sanitation Community of Practice (SanCop) meeting: learning from failure in sanitation by Aliki Zeri for BPD Water and Sanitation
What do we mean when we talk about ‘failure’? How can NGOs in the development sector and in particular in the field of sanitation, use ‘failure’ as a learning mechanism? Is it prudent to ‘market’ ‘failure’ and if so is there a right way of doing it?
These were just a few of the questions the 11th SanCop, which was held on the 14th of November 2012 at WEDC (Loughborough University), strived to answer. ‘Strive’ appears undoubtedly to be the right word, since after considerable debate a number of issues still remained unanswered. And although this may be perceived by some as a ‘failure’, for me it represents a clear indication of the meeting’s success. Bringing together more that 40 academics, engineers, NGO representatives and sanitation experts the meeting provided a ‘safe space’ where ‘failure’ was recognised and embraced as part of the development-aid organisations’ learning curve.