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, […]


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 […]


Ghana reactivates the call for a National Sanitation Authority

Plans for a new national sanitation body in Ghana have been reactivated by the government, raising the hope of accelerated efforts towards universal coverage. But serious challenges remain. By Azzika Yussif Tanko, Research & Policy Lead for WSUP in Ghana The National Sanitation Authority (NSA) will focus on coordinating national sanitation improvements, with a proposed […]


For sale: safe sanitation in Ghana

“I have lived in this compound for the past few years without a toilet. You have to deal with the inconvenience of using a public toilet,” says 60-year-old Yaa Achiaa. Kumasi, one of Ghana’s fastest growing urban centres, is home to 3 million people and nearly half live in informal settlements. Around 60% of the […]


WSUP has been working to catalyse the Ghanaian market for improved sanitation through introducing and selling affordable and desirable products. While it sounds simple, efforts to sell various sanitation products in Ga West (in Greater Accra) and Kumasi were thwarted by overarching issues that prevented potential customers from purchasing and installing sanitation products in their homes.

Using quotes from residents of Ga West and Kumasi as discussion points, this report explores the financial, social, legal and physical hurdles to improving household sanitation in Ghana. We demonstrate the impact that such a ‘disabling’ environment can have on market-based programmes and make suggestions for practical activities that WSUP and other actors could pursue to ease the path to the market for safe sanitation products in the future:

  1. Incentivise product and business development to reduce costs
  2. Reduce dependence on public toilets as primary sanitation facilities
  3. Enforce existing by-laws in a sensitive manner
  4. Target and inform landlords about investing in sanitation
  5. Increase local government funding for sanitation activities
  6. Tailor financial mechanisms to be more inclusive
  7. Apply subsidies carefully to avoid distorting the market

Slow uptake of household toilets in urban Ghana is due to several factors, including (but not limited to) cost which is a key focus of stakeholders. Collating data on the costs of constructing toilets in Kumasi, this Practice Note provides points of comparison for others seeking to build toilets in Ghana and beyond.

Ghana has endured a difficult macro-economic period, with rates of inflation rising to around 17.5% in 2016. Although rates have since reduced, the impact on costs of materials, labour and credit were a constraint on sales of Round Concrete Tanks (RCTs), pit latrines and SaTo Pans in Kumasi in 2018 and 2019.

Only 15% of Ghanaians use an improved household toilet, while nearly a quarter lack access to any household or shared facility. Inability to obtain finance is often cited as a key barrier.

Financial institutions offer toilet loans to help sanitation customers and providers bridge the gap, but uptake is low and businesses face wider challenges in providing affordable products.

This Practice Note considers how demand for sanitation financing products in Ghana could increase.