Testing business ideas

Enabling entrepreneurs to take the first step into water or sanitation is crucial. In countries such as Madagascar and Ghana, we have created economic opportunities for young men and women by helping them set up urban water and sanitation businesses.

The goal is to help entrepreneurs to develop and market products or services, stimulating demand, improving health for customers and generating revenue.

Video: November 2018 – Learn how Moses Kotei became a sanitation entrepreneur in Ga West, Ghana


Refining business models

In Lusaka, Zambia, WSUP has transformed pit-emptying businesses in the peri-urban areas of Kanyama and Chazanga. We supported the initial pilot of the pit-emptying service and have since worked with the businesses to improve their business model and become financially viable.

This work has formed a template that has influenced the design of faecal sludge management services for the Lusaka Sanitation Plan, financed by the World Bank and African Development Bank, that is currently being implemented.

Margaret Shawa, KanyamaVideo: October 2016 – Find out more about the pit-emptying model developed in Lusaka

Report: May 2019 – Strengthening the business model for FSM services in Lusaka: a tariff review process

Developing enterprise-friendly regulations

In many cities, pit-emptying services are provided by unlicensed operators, who work at great risk to their own health, undercut formal businesses, and cause environmental pollution through unsafe disposal of waste.

In Kisumu, Kenya, WSUP has worked with the Kisumu County Public Health Office to develop guidelines for pit-emptiers. The new standards are expected to significantly raise the professional standards of pit-emptying in Kisumu, ensure a level playing ground for all pit-emptying businesses to compete fairly, and reduce the health risks of emptying for operators.

Gasia Poa pit emptiers at work in Kisumu, KenyaBlog: November 2017 – Regulatory reform: stacking the odds in favour of formal sanitation businesses


Driving national expansion of services

Scaling up successful private sector models is a vital step in achieving service provision at a citywide, or even national level.

In Bangladesh, WSUP is supporting the scale up of the SWEEP business model to reach hundreds of thousands of customers across four cities with safe, affordable sanitation waste emptying services.

Video: November 2017 – Enabling the private sector to provide affordable sanitation services in Bangladesh

Report: May 2018 – Incentivising the private sector to target low-income customers

It's unbelievable that faecal sludge collection can be a profitable business and is getting such a positive response. Now that WSUP has paved the way, CCC is committed to making more entrepreneurs in this business.

Shafuqul Mannan Siddique, Chief Conservancy OfficerChittagong City Corporation

Triggers for growing sanitation businesses

Learn about WSUP’s experience supporting sanitation businesses oriented towards low-income customers in five cities, and our findings that the success of sanitation businesses depends on factors internal to the business as well as those external, and out of the control of, the business.

Report: May 2019 – Triggers for growing a sanitation business aimed at low-income customers 

Blog: June 2019 – The Hard Reality of Sanitation: Why Public Sector Support is Key to Entrepreneurial Success in Emerging Markets (published on Next Billion)