Gender inequity at the level of policy, regulation and management can perpetuate inequities throughout the sanitation sector, limiting the voice and participation of women decision-makers.

A literature review was completed as part of a research project analysing the internal workings of organisations that contribute to and implement sanitation services and policy in Kenya.

Despite evidence that equal gender representation at managerial levels can increase firm performance and the quality of services provided, women are still under-represented in sanitation governance globally and in Kenya.

Numerous barriers to advancement exist at various stages, from a bias against women training in STEM fields to hostile work environments that discourage advancement.

Significant gaps remain in the literature on women working and progressing in sanitation and other technical fields.

The next stage of the research is to assess (a) the gender balance in decision-making/technical roles in these organisations; (b) how attitudes to sanitation vary between male and female decision-makers; (c) and the key barriers to female participation in these roles. This will lead to recommendations for equitable recruitment, placement and career advancement of women.

The full literature review can be accessed here.

This research was led by Athena Infonomics; results from a mapping exercise of sanitation public bodies in Kenya can be found here.

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 […]

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 […]

Running Dry front cover

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.


Myth one: Struggling utilities are unable to serve the poorest

The reality: Much-maligned, publicly owned utilities can deliver services for the poorest communities.

Myth two: Water should be free

The reality: Water is a human right, but people should still pay for it. Even the poorest.

Myth three: Communities should be responsible for their own services

The reality: Community ownership can result in poor services. We should be aiming for community buy-in instead.

Myth four: We should only focus on household facilities

The reality: Community sanitation facilities can help bridge the gap when household facilities are not viable.

Myth five: Building toilets alone will solve the sanitation crisis

The reality: Solving the waste management conundrum is bigger than just building toilets.



What is the market like for pro-poor, safe emptying services in Kisumu, Kenya?

In Kisumu, Kenya, the majority of households rely on pit latrines but most pit emptiers do not work safely – which is bad for the customer, the neighbourhood, and the emptiers themselves. This lack of adequate services is an opportunity for those who can deliver safely managed sanitation services to customers, including those in low-income […]

Experience from SHARE, REACH and the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative

Delivering high-quality research can be challenging. But achieving research uptake – impact on policy or other aspects of the “real world” – is enormously challenging. In low-income contexts the barriers to achieving change can seem profound, in view of economic and capacity limitations. In fact, achieving policy change may not necessarily be more difficult in low-income contexts than in wealthier contexts (for example, Rwanda and Kenya outlawed plastic bags almost overnight, whereas even the most ambitious EU countries set targets 3-5 years into the future). Nonetheless, it’s clear that using research to drive meaningful change is far from straightforward.

This Discussion Paper considers the experience of three ongoing research-into-use programmes: we identify the major challenges we have faced in achieving research uptake, and discuss strategies we are using (or that we might use in future) to overcome those challenges.

All three programmes are core-funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Lead author: Aquaya Institute.

In Kisumu, Kenya, the majority of households rely on pit latrines, though the servicing of these latrines is largely unsafe. This Brief assesses the market potential to expand safe fecal waste emptying services to low-income areas in Kisumu.

Price is the largest barrier for this population to access safe emptying services, which are more than double the cost of existing practices.

Future interventions need to address the price barrier between formal (safe) and informal (unsafe) faecal sludge emptying. The Aquaya Institute are currently conducting a randomised, real-money demand trial in Kisumu to quantify the gap between existing prices and consumer willingness-to-pay for safe pit emptying services.