A multi-criteria approach for assessing the sustainability of small-scale cooking and sanitation technologies
To reduce the consumption of firewood for cooking and to realise recycling-driven soil fertility management, three projects in Northwest Tanzania aim to provide the local smallholder community with cooking and sanitation alternatives. The present study proposes an integrated approach to assess the sustainability of the small-scale cooking and sanitation technologies. Based on the multi-criteria decision support approach (MC(D)A), we developed a decision-specific, locally adapted, and participatory assessment tool: the Multi-Criteria Technology Assessment (MCTA). Pre-testing of the tailored tool was set up with representatives of Tanzanian and German partners of case study projects. From a methodological perspective, we conclude that the MCTA uses a set of relevant criteria to realise a transparent and replicable computational Excel-tool. The combination of MC(D)A for structuring the assessment with analytical methods, such as Material Flow Analysis, for describing the performance of alternatives is a promising path for designing integrated approaches to sustainability assessments of technologies. Pre-testing of the tool served as a proof-of-concept for the general design of the method. Future applications and adjustments of the MCTA require the inclusion of end-users, a reasonable and participatory reduction of criteria, and an increase of feedback loops and group discussions between participants and the facilitator to support a common learning about the technologies and thorough understanding of the perspectives of participants.
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Published in: Challenges in Sustainability, 10.12924/cis2018.06010001, Librello