Call that a septic tank?

In a previous blog post back in January, we described the start of a research project which is aiming to assess and  model how faecal pathogens move through the environment in a low-income urban community in Dhaka in Bangladesh. It’s one of our three biggest projects under WSUP’s Urban Sanitation Research Initiative, and it’s important […]


Is slum sanitation likely to require major subsidy?

Improving sanitation in slum communities is a complex challenge. Particularly challenging is working out how it can be financed. Now if you believe that subsidy is a Bad Thing or just ain’t ever gonna happen, you might approach slum sanitation by first assessing what slumdwellers are willing to pay, then identifying some solution that can […]


Gasia_Poa_pit-emptying_business_Kisumu

What is the market like for pro-poor, safe emptying services in Kisumu, Kenya?

In Kisumu, Kenya, the majority of households rely on pit latrines but most pit emptiers do not work safely – which is bad for the customer, the neighbourhood, and the emptiers themselves. This lack of adequate services is an opportunity for those who can deliver safely managed sanitation services to customers, including those in low-income […]


Gender balance in the water and sanitation workforce

As the Technical Director at Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC), Eng. Lucy Njambi is responsible for the operation of Nairobi’s water and sewerage systems, serving around 4 million people. She believes that it is important to involve women when developing services. “It’s important to include women, as they are the ones who suffer […]


The pathogen problem

In many cities, people’s living and working environments are contaminated by huge amounts of untreated faecal waste. We know that excreta (human and non-human) is incredibly dangerous for health. But the pathogens found in faecal waste (i.e. the micro-organisms that cause diseases like diarrhoea, typhoid and hepatitis) have very complex patterns of movement through the […]


Communal WASH facilities in Kalshi slum, Dhaka

How can we define high-quality shared sanitation in cities?

What does your ideal toilet look like? Gold-plated, maybe musical? Or a loo with a view? Whatever your personal idiosyncrasies, it’s unlikely that you’re imagining a toilet that you are forced to share with hundreds of other people throughout the day. But for that’s the reality for millions of people living in densely-populated urban areas […]


The Urban Sanitation Research Initiative’s ‘elephant baby shower’

About 18 months into the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative, and we’re starting to see emerging findings and the beginnings of policy impact. 18 months is about the gestation period of an elephant: so we’re in baby elephant phase, but planning to make a pretty big stomp in the not-too-distant future! If you explore the Urban […]


Between carrot and stick

A government minister’s signature at the bottom of a newly passed bill can be the result of years of concerted effort from numerous stakeholders. But that signature doesn’t automatically translate into sustained change on the ground, which is where it matters. This is the situation in urban Ghana, where public toilets continue to be a […]


Low connection rates in sewerage projects

In this blog post, I wanted to draw people’s attention to some fascinating recent commentary by Ian Ross around sanitation costings. Ian’s an ex-OPM consultant, now taking time out with LSHTM to do a PhD looking at costs of sanitation: so he’s able to put a lot of his considerable brainpower into thinking about this, […]


Could a new ‘Sanitation Development Fee’ improve sanitation for low-income urban Kenyans?

Kenya’s National Water Master Plan envisions 80% national sewerage coverage by 2030 – ambitious, as only 35% of urban Kenyans currently have access to basic sanitation. Motivated and influential stakeholders like the Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB), the body in charge of overseeing national water and sewerage policies and strategies, have a financial mountain to […]