The Urban Sanitation Research Initiative is a 2017–2020 programme of rigorous research designed to drive pro-poor sector change in urban sanitation in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya and globally.

It is led by WSUP in collaboration with key in-country partners, and core-funded by UK aid from the UK government.

Following in-depth consultation with national and international urban sanitation experts and stakeholders, the following areas of research were identified for the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative. These areas reflect WSUP’s own understanding of the key challenges (with particular emphasis on institutional policy and market enablement) and inputs from in-country actors around what types of research can drive sector change.

The Urban Sanitation Research Initiative focus areas:

  1. Sanitation businesses and market development
  2. Public finance and sanitation planning
  3. Sanitation models, user behaviour, user experience
  4. Institutional frameworks and capacity
  5. Regulation and smart enforcement


Read more: USRI Overview

Urban Sanitation Research Initiative: open access journal articles

  • Daudey L (October 2017) ‘The cost of urban sanitation solutions: a literature review’, Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development,
  • Mills F, Willetts J, Petterson S, Mitchell C, Norman G (2018) ‘Faecal Pathogen Flows and Their Public Health Risks in Urban Environments: A Proposed Approach to Inform Sanitation Planning’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15(2):181, DOI:10.3390/ijerph15020181
  • Hutchings PJohns MJornet DScott CVan den Bossche Z (2018) ‘A systematic assessment of the pro-poor reach of development bank investments in urban sanitation’, Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for DevelopmentDOI: 10.2166/washdev.2018.147
  • Acey C, Kisiangani J, Ronoh P, Delaire C, Makena E, Norman G, Levine D, Khush R, Peletz R (2018) ‘Cross-subsidies for improved sanitation in low income settlements: Assessing the willingness to pay of water utility customers in Kenyan cities’, World Development, DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2018.11.006
  • Antwi-Agyei P, Monney I, Dwumfour-Asare B, Cavill S (2018) ‘Toilets for tenants: a cooperative approach to sanitation bye-law enforcement in Ga West, Accra’, Environment and Urbanisation, DOI: 10.1177/0956247818800654 (n.b. not open access)
  • Seal D, Bown RT, Parker AH (2018) ‘Penetrometer tests on 109 pit latrines in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya’, Water SA 44 (3), DOI: 10.4314/wsa/v44i3.13 
  • Mason N, Oyaya O, Boulenouar J (2018) ‘Reforming urban sanitation under decentralisation: Cross-country learning for Kenya and beyond’, Development Policy Review, DOI: 10.1111/dpr.12408