Smart water: the experience of utilities in adopting digital solutions

Across 2021 and 2022 the GSMA’s Digital Utilities programme and Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) collaborated on research exploring four Kenyan water utilities experience of adopting digital solutions and their digitalisation journey more broadly. This blog, co-written by Eden Mati (WSUP) and Zach White (GSMA), summarises the report’s key findings and messages. […]


As Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, hygiene practices remain essential

Covid-19 infections have significantly declined in many parts of the world, after the spread of the Omicron variant, and that is also true in Africa. With the end of restrictions and with vaccinations levels still low in much of the continent, however, the adoption of good hygiene practices is as important as it has ever […]


School sanitation facilities in Madagascar

A template for action: how new guidelines pave the path to better sanitation in Africa

Joint article by AMCOW, Speak Up Africa, UNICEF and WSUP. This week’s World Water Forum, taking place in Dakar, Senegal, is a timely reminder of how the world is slipping behind its commitment to achieve universal access to safe sanitation by 2030. Access to basic sanitation and hygiene services is a primary concern globally, with […]


It can be done report cover

A joint publication by AMCOW, Speak Up Media, UNICEF and WSUP

On the 10th of June, 2021, the African Council of Ministers on Water (AMCOW) launched the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG), a new initiative to help improve national and subnational sanitation and hygiene policy across the continent.

The policy guidelines aim to ease the process of resolving country-level enabling environment bottlenecks that stand in the way of African governments in meeting their national, regional, and global sanitation and hygiene obligations. They provide direction in functional policy drafting, broad stakeholder engagement, monitoring, and generic technical content specific to sanitation and hygiene service provision.

Download resource

This report explains the background to the creation of the ASPG and presents the importance of these policy guidelines. It then outlines examples from across Africa showing how the six parts to the guidelines can be applied:

Sanitation Systems and Services (South Africa)

Hygiene and Behaviour Change (Rwanda)

Institutional Arrangements (Senegal)

Regulation (Zambia)

Capacity Development (South Africa)

Funding and Financing (Chad)

High-level advocacy is key to the success of the ASPG rollout. Engaging senior policymakers in this process is the winning formula of success. Time and resources will be invested in continuous advocacy meetings and a wide stakeholder engagement to ensure no one is left behind during the policy process.The ASPG provides a wide range of resources that requires investing in the various stakeholders’ capacity building. This process presents an excellent opportunity for documenting both the learning and sharing, as part of knowledge management for policy processes.

Previous experiences across the continent clarify that Africa can achieve the indicators of progress outlined in the guidelines because they have been done before, even if only in a few countries. This time around the focus is on increasing the scale of success to the entire continent.

Africa has rightfully and decisively opted to pursue something that its leaders and populations can deliver. With political will and determination to design the right policies towards a common goal, the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines should generate a high level of confidence and certainty amongst the continent’s authorities, summarised by these encouraging words: it can be done.

 

Time to give groundwater a little respect

Groundwater: a key resource for towns and cities around the world struggling to provide enough water for their thirsty residents. It has many advantages over surface water, as it is often more reliable, nearer to households, less vulnerable to pollution, and more resilient to climate variability. With urban populations in Africa and south Asia continuing […]


Women spread the message: story of a communications leader in Kenya

By Emily Kirigha, Project Manager, and Beatrice Masaba, People & Support Officer, Kenya Every single project and activity WSUP has been involved with in Africa and Asia relies on the direct participation and deep involvement of women. From the hard work done by female residents in their communities to their role as mothers and sisters […]


Mind the Gap: what happens when customers cannot afford safe sanitation?

By Sam Drabble, Head of Evaluation, Research & Learning In a recent publication, WSUP explored what quality sanitation means from a public health and user experience perspective. But there is a further question which is core to achieving Citywide Inclusive Sanitation: how can quality sanitation be financed? The scale of the financing challenge for urban […]


Sanitation for all is a challenge particularly acute for low and middle-income countries. In the face of funding constraints, and a lack of political influence among those living in poorer areas, governments have tended to under-prioritise sanitation as a public investment
area.

Yet, countries have committed to the Sustainable Development Goal for sanitation. In doing so, governments have pledged to the Leaving no one behind principle, and to reaching the underserved as a matter of priority. A key question in this endeavour is which financing models can support governments’ ambitions for citywide sanitation.

This publication explores how high-quality sanitation can be financed in low-income urban areas in developing contexts. It is based on
findings from four research projects conducted under WSUP’s Urban Sanitation Research Initiative 2016–2020 (USRI), funded by UK Aid:

  1. A research project led by the Aquaya Institute and conducted in five cities – Kisumu (Kenya), Nakuru (Kenya), Malindi (Kenya), Kumasi (Ghana), and Rangpur (Bangladesh) – identified the costs of sanitation services and the willingness-to-pay of poor urban households for those services (this research is referred to as SanCost in this paper);
  2. A second research project led by the Aquaya Institute and which carried out a comparison of service models, financing models and willingness-to-pay for faecal sludge emptying services in Kisumu (Kenya);
  3. A third research project by the Aquaya Institute that considered the willingness-to-pay of utility customers for a sanitation surcharge on the water bill to cross-subsidise sanitation for the poor in two Kenyan cities; and
  4. Finally, a research project led by Dr. Charles Yaw Oduro (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology) and conducted in two districts in Ghana that examined policy-makers and taxpayers’ attitudes towards a sanitation surcharge on the property tax.

WSUP publishes 2020-2021 Annual Report

WSUP has launched its 2020-2021 Annual Report, presenting our operations and impact in the year up to March 2021. Through work in our core countries Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Zambia, plus our emerging presence in Uganda and consultancy work in Malawi and Cambodia, we were proud to improve the lives of 6.7 million […]


During 2020-2021, WSUP’s work became more vital than ever before, with the Covid-19 pandemic driving increased need for general good hygiene practices.

Our Annual Report shows where, how, and how much WSUP’s work has benefited the communities it serves across Africa and south Asia.

In the year to March 2021, despite global challenging circumstances, WSUP reached:

515,000 people with improved water access

721,000 residents with improved sanitation services;

5.5 million people with improved access to good hygiene;

and mobilised $8 million in additional investment.

Lord Paul Boateng, WSUP’s chairman, says in his opening message:

“As a world leader in research and practical assistance in the market-led delivery of access to urban water, sanitation and hygiene, our efforts are critical to the achievement of SDG 6, clean water and sanitation, and SDG 11, sustainable communities and cities.”

Neil Jeffery, WSUP’s CEO, adds:

“Covid-19 highlighted how vital water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is, how central it can be to combating disease and how WSUP’s expertise is fundamental to overcoming that challenge in urban areas.”

Download WSUP Annual Report 2020-21