Within the 6th European framework programme for “sustainable development, global change and ecosystems”, a project for “Resource-Oriented Sanitation in peri-urban areas in Africa” (ROSA) has been carried out. Strategic Sanitation and Waste Plans (SSWPs) were developed for four East African cities to find the best solution for the respective pilot city. The institutional settings of the introduced systems, however, turned out to be a problem. In this context the question arises whether strategies or recommendations can be derived from existing organisational structures in the Austrian solid waste and wastewater sector. Examples are given to demonstrate the current situation, with respect to different political levels in Austria. To describe the situation in East Africa, the four pilot cities of the ROSA project, namely, Arba Minch (Ethiopia), Nakuru (Kenya), Arusha (Tanzania) and Kitgum (Uganda), serve as examples. A comparison between Austria and East Africa shows not only huge differences, but also what mistakes can be avoided in development cooperation. Especially, concerning the financing of conventional sanitation systems, alternative concepts as promoted within the ROSA project seem more sustainable. This research shows that Austria is very effective in solid waste and wastewater management, but that systems can only be sustained with high financial effort. To make sustainable sanitation viable, a market needs to be developed for the recycling products. Then, value can be added at all stages of a resources-oriented sanitation system. Networks and associations play an important role in the organisation of solid waste and wastewater management. In this regard a lot can be learned from the Austrian system, as various associations and networks exist. To improve the quality of operation and maintenance in Africa, cooperation between businesses is a success factor. For collection and transportation it is important to develop a system which involves existing structures to efficiently use available equipment. Prerequisites to successfully introduce resources-oriented sanitation systems are, besides education and involvement of the local population, legally binding regulations as well as the support of public private partnerships.