Self-Learning Course to develop Sanitation Safety Plans - SSP






Welcome to the online course Climate Resilient Sanitation Safety Plans, developed by the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO / WHO), through the Regional Technical Team on Water and Sanitation (ETRAS).


The course Climate Resilient Sanitation Safety Plans has the purpose of providing theoretical and practical tools to institutions and professionals related to sanitation, as well as to officials who carry out activities of regulation, surveillance, and monitoring of water quality in the countries of the Americas. It has been developed in concordance with the Guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization and with a vision of comprehensive risk assessment and control management. Therefore, these CR-SSPs complement and ensure the application of the Climate Resilient Water Safety Plans (CR- WSP), forming part of the PAHO / WHO health promotion and protection strategies.

The course has been organized in 6 modules that address the main topics of the Climate-Resilient Sanitation Safety Plans (CR-SSP). As an introduction to the course, we have created a Module 0 in which you will find everything you need to know about the course: its main objectives, structure, and navigation. Also, you will find the introduction, context and conceptualization for this course. Finally, we have added a Course Closing module.

In the platform, you will find the resources for each module and its corresponding sections. These include interactive lessons complemented with case studies and readings. Also, at the end of each section, you will find a summary and a quiz. You will also find forum activities at the start and closing of the course.

As a self-paced course, you will not have tutors or an established deadline. Therefore, you will be able to access the contents and complete the course at your own pace.

To start with the course, please review the content on module 0, called "Start Here". In this module you will find three sections: Welcome to the Course, Introduction and Context and Conceptualization of the CR-SSP. The first section will provide everything you need to complete the course, including the “How to Navigate the Course” document. In the second section, you will find the introductory module “Why Climate Resilient Sanitation Safety Plans”. Finally, you will find the “Conceptualization of the CR-SSP” module, which includes the basic concepts and context for this course, plus the “Tell us about you” forum.



We encourage you to actively participate in the course and reflect on the topics. The learning resources are meant for this purpose and constitute a valuable tool to contextualize your learning with real life examples of experiences, programs, cases and relevant documents. Also, to complement your self-learning experience, we invite you to interact with your peers in the forums.


Upon completing all the activities of the course, you will be able to:

    • Carry out each step of the sanitation safety planning methodology.
    • Identify future cases of SSP, the institutions that should be involved and the knowledge required for their better preparation.
    • Initiate and sustain an SSP process in a defined location.

The specific learning objectives of each module are:


Learning Objectives

Module 0 Start Here

  • Define sanitation and health
  • Identify the impact of lack of or insufficient sanitation
  • Recognize the WHO guidelines on safe use of wastewater, excreta and greywater
  • Identify the components of the Sanitation and Reuse System
  • Recognize the WHO guidelines on safe sanitation
  • Describe the Climate Resilient Sanitation Safety Planning (CR-SSP) Approach
  • Identify the steps to navigate the platform and complete the course

Module 1


Prepare for Sanitation Safety Planning

  • Define priority areas, purpose, scope, limits and leadership for the CR-SSP
  • Identify the actors of a multidisciplinary

team representing the sanitation chain for the development and implementation of the CR-SSP



Module 2


Describe the Sanitation System

  • Produce a validated map and description of the system
  • Identify potential exposure groups
  • Define the components of waste streams and health hazards
  • Establish factors that affect the performance and vulnerability of the system
  • Compile technical, legal and regulatory information

Module 3


Identify Hazardous Events, Assess Existing Control Measures and Exposure Risks

  • Create a risk assessment chart with a comprehensive list of hazards, summarizing hazardous events, exposure groups and routes, existing control measures and their effectiveness
  • Produce a prioritized list of hazardous events to guide improvements to the system

Module 4


Develop and Implement an Incremental Improvement Plan

  • Select new control measures and improvements to address the greatest risks
  • Outline a plan to be implemented with incremental improvements that protects all exposure groups along the sanitation chain

Module 5


Monitor Control Measures and Verify Performance

  • Generate specific evidence of the system’s performance
  • Justify existing operations
  • Identify needs to continue making improvements in subsequent iterations with Module 4

Module 6


Develop Supporting Programs and Review Plans

  • Develop support programs and management procedures that improve the implementation of CR-SSP products
  • Recognize and develop products of the CR-SSP that respond to internal and external changes

Course Closing

  • Recall the main ideas from the course

The Climate Resilient Sanitation Safety Plans is aimed at all the actors involved in the processes associated with sanitation, from the source of waste, collection, treatment, final disposal and / or use of water treated residuals. Especially, professionals from public and private institutions that provide sanitation services to the populations of the countries of the Americas that use sewage systems. Therefore, the course is intended for a variety of users of different levels. These include:

    • Local authorities, as it serves as a tool to plan investments in sanitation, especially in low-resource settings.
    • Managers of public and private water and sanitation companies, as it helps in the management of the effluent quality and in the protection of public and occupational health from the source until its use or final disposal.
    • Agricultural companies or farmers' associations, in order to complement the procedures to ensure the quality of final products, workers, communities local, and consumers or users of the product.
    • Community organizations and NGOs, in order to support water and sanitation programs to community level in the safe use of human waste.

In addition to the technicians linked to the preparation of the SSP for specific cases of systems for sanitation and wastewater use, these plans are also useful for those professionals from institutions that work at the national level. Therefore, also includes:

    • Health, environment, water resources and agriculture authorities, responsible for the regulation and oversight, as a tool to introduce approaches based on the risk and verify its effectiveness.
    • Professionals who provide guidance in development of policies and programs to improve the sanitation management.

To take part in the course, you will need:

    • Basic knowledge in water and sanitation, being able to also incorporate knowledge on water and environmental management, as well as the reuse of wastewater, if necessary to evaluate the chosen case. Some of the required knowledge can be provided by other professionals who agree to collaborate as the student's work team.
    • A computer or mobile device with access to the Internet. We recommend having updated versions of one of the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge.
    • Headphones, since some interactive lessons have voice-over narration.

We estimate that you should dedicate around 40 hours to complete all the course activities, including the quizzes.

Last update: 01/Apr/2024