What is water worth?

To mark World Water Day, 22 March, WSUP is shining a light on the value of water: the theme for this year’s campaign. Water brings value in so many ways, whether it is through education, employment, nutrition, health, or environmental protection. Safeguarding this precious resource for the benefit of everyone is critical. Watch the video […]


New water systems of enormous value to growing towns in Ghana

A key trend of urbanisation across Africa is villages evolving into small towns but lacking the accompanying investment in basic services. The Ashanti region, Ghana’s most populated region, is an example of this challenge. As a result, whole communities lack access to clean water. To address this issue, WSUP has been working with The One […]


Coronavirus poster

Weaknesses in water, sanitation and hygiene systems exposed by pandemic, say experts

Highlights from a panel discussion on how cities are adapting to challenges such as the Covid-19 crisis. At a WSUP event held yesterday, a panel of expert speakers outlined the challenges faced in the urban water, sanitation and hygiene sector as a result of Covid-19, and made recommendations on priorities for the sector. The Adapting […]


What does ‘quality’ sanitation mean in low-income urban areas?

By Sam Drabble, Head of Evaluation, Research & Learning Broadly speaking, when we advocate for investment in sanitation, it is because we are trying to achieve two critically important aims: improve human health, and improve wellbeing or quality of life. But to what extent are sanitation interventions actually achieving these aims? In many cases, the […]


This discussion paper explores how high-quality sanitation can be achieved in low-income urban areas in developing contexts. It is based on findings from four research projects conducted under, or in association with, WSUP’s Urban Sanitation Research Initiative 2016–2020 (USRI), funded by DFID.

The four research projects considered here are:

  1. The Faecal Pathogen Flows study in Dhaka, Bangladesh — aiming to track and model how faecal pathogens move through urban low-income communities (LICs), as a tool to support sanitation intervention planning in developing contexts.
  2. The MapSan study carried out in Maputo, Mozambique — one of the largest and most rigorous studies ever conducted of the health impacts of an urban sanitation intervention.
  3. The QUISS study — based on large-scale surveys in Bangladesh, Ghana and Kenya, aiming to identify minimum standards for high-quality shared sanitation in urban contexts, and workable indicators of shared sanitation quality.
  4. The Clean Team evaluation — assessing customer experience among customers of Clean Team Ghana, a container-based sanitation enterprise.
Nairobi LIC street scene

Improving sanitation services a top priority, according to study of under-served urban residents

As we mark World Cities Day 2020 on Saturday, new research from WSUP shines light on the complex needs of marginalised communities in cities. The analysis rated 17 differing services in Accra, Ghana, and Nairobi, Kenya and found that, consistently, residents placed sanitation services close to the top. Surprisingly, there have been few dedicated studies […]


Mombasa Water receive donation of handsanitiser

Handwashing in 2020: working with utilities to protect the most vulnerable

This year, on Global Handwashing Day, the need for everyone to be able to wash their hands with soap has never been clearer. The devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have shown the importance of universal hand hygiene as the simplest and most effective way to prevent the spread of a virus. For low-income communities […]


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 […]