Rangpur citywide inclusive sanitation photoshoot

Marketing the un-marketable? Selling sanitation in Bangladesh

In an environment where many are unwilling to pay for sanitation, how can we promote safe services? In Bangladesh, WSUP is trialling different marketing models to encourage greater uptake of services. We tested door-to-door brand promoters with promotions running in trusted shops (retail agents), to find out which were more effective at targeting different stages […]


This Discussion Paper synthesises experience from Eastern and Southern Africa and Bangladesh to explore the evolving role of regulators in driving urban sanitation service improvements.

The paper argues that effective regulators and regulations are urgently needed to improve urban sanitation services to the poorest, and highlights some ways in which this can be achieved.

The paper features six case studies of diverse regulatory initiatives, ranging from sanitation surcharges and specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to national-level institutional and regulatory frameworks. In each case, the paper aims to document how progress has been made, but also to critically assess future challenges to implementation. Key messages of the paper are:

  • Regulatory effectiveness is a core driver of improved sanitation services. Every football match needs a referee.
  • Regulations are not enough. Clear responsibilities and active regulating are essential.
  • Problems cannot be solved in one bold step. Active regulating involves incremental change, extensive consultation and testing.
  • A Regulating Ladder could support countries in their journey towards active regulating.

This is a joint publication between The Eastern and Southern Africa Water and Sanitation Regulators Association (ESAWAS) and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP).

Handwashing station in Accra, Ghana

Covid-19 and crowded urban settlements: how can we stop the spread?

By Sam Drabble, Acting Head of Evaluation, Research & Learning For the one billion people living in informal urban settlements in the Global South, the spread of coronavirus poses an imminent threat that could prove catastrophic. A range of factors makes transmission of the virus in these contexts more likely, and the potential impacts even […]


Child-washing-hands-outside-school-in-Kumasi

Our response to Covid-19: CEO message

Access to clean water and good hygiene have never been more important. A message from our CEO Neil Jeffery I wanted to share with you an update on WSUP’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the last week, we have been working tirelessly to reorient our organisation – getting staff back to their home countries, […]


Henriqueta and her children access water

From the front line of climate change: residents tell their stories

What does climate change mean for the most vulnerable people living in urban areas? Ahead of this year’s World Water Day, WSUP has been finding out how climate change affects the water and sanitation needs of city residents. The following stories give a snapshot of the challenges faced around the world, from rising temperatures in […]


Sharing insights at the Urban WASH Inclusion Masterclass

Solving the big challenges of inclusive services through peer-to-peer learning

There is no greater way for city authorities and regulators to learn about developing inclusive water and sanitation services than from their peers – other institutions around the world who are confronting similar issues. That was the thinking behind the Urban WASH Inclusion Masterclass 2019, organised by WSUP and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative […]


A vision of a Green City: can improved sanitation help?

 With nearly half the urban population in Bangladesh lacking access to safe sanitation services, a sanitation waste partnership between the public and private sector, is helping tackle the challenge. In Bangladesh, nearly 60 million residents live in urban areas. Utilities and are struggling to cope with this rapid urban growth. Delivering citywide sanitation services […]


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. By Guy Norman, WSUP’s Director of Research and Evaluation It’s one of our three biggest projects […]


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. By Guy Norman, WSUP’s Director of Research and Evaluation 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 […]


Polluted river in Biafra, Nairobi

Five myths preventing increased access to urban water and sanitation

Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) has identified five myths which are stopping investors, agencies and policymakers from properly addressing the inadequate access to essential water and sanitation services in cities across Africa and South Asia. The five myths are published in a new report, Running Dry: Tackling the myths about urban water […]