As a result of rapidly increasing urbanisation, more investment is needed to deliver improved water and sanitation services to low-income customers – particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

WSUP works to mobilise resources that can benefit the poorest urban residents, either from public and private investment, households, or improved targeting and effectiveness of large-scale investment by major international investors.

A core concept within WSUP’s Theory of Change is securing finance for models and service approaches which work, with particular focus on the financial sustainability of service providers. We track two main categories of finance mobilised: firstly, household payments for connection and maintenance of water/sewage bills (where WSUP supported the connection) which build up the service provider revenue base. Secondly, public, private or IFI investments in service delivery improvements which are influenced by WSUP, either through collaboration during the investment or through a replication of an approach developed by WSUP.

To date, we have helped unlock over $600 million in additional funding.

WSUP focuses on four key sources of investment:

  1. International financial institutions (IFIs): targeting the flow of large-scale investments
  2. Household finance: enabling low-income customers to invest in affordable services
  3. Public finance: enabling public investments in citywide water and sanitation service delivery
  4. Private sector finance: increasing the involvement of enterprises in public-private partnerships

More large-scale investment in water and sanitation across the board is needed to achieve universal access to WASH services.

The investment [from WSUP, thanks to a grant from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, DFAT] has impacted positively on private sector growth through WSUP support to two FSM operators.”

Partner Performance AssessmentAustralian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), May 2015

Public finance

Domestic public finance contributions are a crucial element of scaling up services aimed at low-income communities. By working with central and local government institutions, WSUP enables public investments in citywide water and sanitation services.

February 2022: Mind the Gap: what happens when customers cannot afford safe sanitation?


Private sector

WSUP helps companies to develop and scale up water, sanitation and hygiene services: enabling the private sector to contribute its own resources to improving services.

February 2022: A round up of SWEEP: WSUP’s solution to tackle Bangladesh’s sanitation challenge

May 2021: The building blocks for successful citywide sanitation systems


Household finance

Paying for water and sanitation services informally usually costs more and results in a worse service than when accessing formal services. WSUP’s work enables residents to pay for affordable services that improve their quality of life.

January 2022: Upgrading the importance of low-income customers in Ghana’s water sector

November 2021: Valuing toilets: how customers rate the container based sanitation experience


International financial institutions (IFIs)

WSUP supports public sector institutions and IFIs to bridge the gap between large-scale infrastructure investment and the needs of low-income residents, supporting programme design and building the capacity of utilities to use IFI funding in service delivery aimed at the poorest.

February 2020: WSUP support enables Madagascar utility to access EUR 71.5m in funding

April 2018: Towards citywide sanitation in Lusaka: The next phase of non-sewered sanitation