Online Course on Ecological Sanitation

This course deals with options for sustainable sanitation in low-income countries, which will contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for sanitation and related fields such as reducing poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality, improving lives of slum dwellers and ensuring environmental sustainability.

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For whom?

The course is designed for mid-career professionals who work in low-income countries or countries in transition, and deal with planning, promoting, designing, operating or managing sanitation systems for residents in urban, peri-urban, slum or rural areas.

Participants are typically employed by government departments, private companies, local or international NGOs, universities, research institutions, aid agencies or international bodies such as WHO or UNICEF.

Dates, Fee, ECTS

Start: 06 May 2019
End: 04 July 2019
Deadline IHE application: 05 May 2019 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 896

VAT is not included in the course fee

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
  1. Know the limitations of conventional sewer-based ("flush and forget") or pit-based ("drop and store") sanitation systems, in the context of developing countries, with a focus on urban or peri-urban areas
  2. Understand the need for a paradigm shift in urban sanitation and the relevance for the MDGs
  3. Have a good overview of the available technology and reuse options within the ecosan approach (collection, transfer and treatment of excreta and greywater; safe reuse; nontechnical aspects; ecosan in emergency areas, slums, and modern integrated urba

Course structure

Participants complete the course in part-time, online learning mode over a period of 18 weeks with a total workload of 140 hours (equivalent to a course of 3 weeks full-time). They spend about 9 hours per week on this course by reading, listening to podcasts, watching video clips, participating in asynchronous discussions, asking questions to the teacher and to fellow classmates, and working on the assignments.

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will receive a Course Certificate issued by IHE Delft.

Course content

  1. Introduction to ecosan approach (4 weeks) - The need for and definition of ecosan and MDGs; Characteristics of urine, faeces and greywater; Overview of technologies for ecosan
  2. Transfer and treatment of human excreta and greywater (6 weeks) - Treatment aspects for urine, faeces and greywater; Conventional on-site sanitation; Storage and transport logistics; Introduction to anaerobic treatment technologies; Constructed wetlands; Composting; Faecal sludge management; Alternative sewer systems; Urban groundwater pollution
  3. Reuse of ecosan products (2 weeks) - Introduction to productive sanitation systems; Urban agriculture and reuse research results
  4. Non-technical aspects of ecosan (2 weeks) - Financial aspects and market considerations;  Social, institutional, policy and gender aspects
  5. Water supply and ecosan (2 weeks) - Urban water demand management measures; Rainwater harvesting


This course has previously been sponsored by Grontmij, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Huber and Vitens.



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