Improvements to water, sanitation and hygiene are only possible at scale if challenges at a policy level are addressed.

Extending services to marginalised communities is not just about building infrastructure or supporting service providers such as utilities or the private operators.

There is also a need to improve policies and regulations, to create a stronger enabling environment for the provision of services. Ineffective regulation can disincentivise utilities to improve service delivery, and unclear or outdated policies can make it difficult for institutions to know what their responsibilities are.

Our work has focused on supporting regulators to drive change for the poorest residents, guiding city authorities on the development of equitable WASH strategies, as well as pushing for the implementation of citywide approaches that can tackle the lack of safe sanitation.

By engaging with regional and national governments and regulators, as well as international initiatives, WSUP is helping to overcome systemic barriers which prohibit equitable access to clean water, safe sanitation and hygiene.

The root cause to where we are, has been to a large extent lack of coordination among the responsible institutions who are supposed to provide the services.

Supporting the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines

A suitable enabling environment provides a solid foundation for inclusive sanitation planning, investment, and management. WSUP has worked closely with the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), Speak Up Africa and UNICEF to produce a joint report, highlighting the importance of the guidelines in helping countries solve multiple systemic, institutional and market barriers to WASH services.

March 2022: How new guidelines pave the path to better sanitation in Africa

December 2021: Making progress on sanitation policy: AfricaSan6


Citywide Inclusive Sanitation

WSUP has worked closely with Eastern and Southern Africa Water and Sanitation (ESAWAS) Regulators Association to lead efforts to introduce effective Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS). A joint series was published, looking at CWIS in terms of three closely related requirements for achieving safe, inclusive and sustainable urban sanitation.

October 2021: CWIS: Who is responsible? (Click here for short version)

October 2021: CWIS: How can accountability be strengthened? (Click here for short version)

October 2021: CWIS: How can resourcing be managed effectively? (Click here for short version)

Creating a citywide sanitation plan in Kenya

In Malindi, on Kenya’s coastline, three-quarters of the city’s 310,000 residents have no access to safely managed sanitation. WSUP is working with city authorities to devise an ambitious plan to tackle the problem.

July 2021: New video shows how a citywide plan aims to tackle Malindi’s dirty secret: sanitation 

July 2021: Towards a cleaner and more productive Malindi and Watamu

The role of stronger regulators

Stronger regulators can play an important role in improving sanitation for under-served urban residents. Working with the regulators’ association ESAWAS, we identified key areas where regulators are driving change for the poorest.

May 2021: ESAWAS and WSUP renew partnership to strengthen regulation in Africa

June 2020: Referee! Responsibilities, regulations and regulating for urban sanitation

Accessing water in Korogocho, Nairobi, Kenya

Lessons on systems change from Lusaka and Maputo

WSUP’s report, Systems Reboot, examines how cities can address major barriers to delivering citywide sanitation services. The report bases its findings on experiences from two cities where WSUP has worked for over 10 years.

November 2019: Systems Reboot: Sanitation sector change in Maputo and Lusaka

Maputo urban city landscape