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 […]


This Topic Brief presents WSUP’s experience supporting sanitation businesses oriented towards low-income customers in five cities. Each case study highlights changes to the business model or enabling environment with the potential to trigger business growth.

In WSUP’s experience, the success of sanitation businesses depends on factors internal to the business as well as those external, and out of the control of, the business. We have seen that where businesses and development actors are able to identify and push these trigger points, rapid progress can be made in business growth.

Clean Team waste collector

Aims

This project will deliver an evaluation of the user experience outcomes of being a customer of Clean Team Ghana. Clean Team Ghana is a social enterprise providing container-based toilets for a monthly fee covering toilet rental and the container replacement service. Clean Team Ghana currently operates in the city of Kumasi.

This research will aim to generate evidence that is a) of wide value in Ghana and internationally for understanding the user experience impacts of container-based sanitation service models of this type, and b) of specific value to Clean Team Ghana in further improving their business model. The research should focus on user experience including i) satisfaction with aspects including for example smell and container replacement service, and ii) subjective wellbeing across a range of dimensions including dignity and security.

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Kanyama first transfer station

Reporting back: five years of catalysing private sector involvement in urban sanitation

Since December 2012, we have been implementing a programme which explored how to catalyse private sector involvement in on-site sanitation, using three test countries: Bangladesh, Kenya and Zambia. The programme enabled us to try different technologies, models and ways of working that we otherwise may not have been able to pursue and five years later, […]


Barriers and opportunities for sanitation SMEs report cover

This Topic Brief presents a study of the wider market barriers and opportunities facing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in sanitation in Ghana.

Conducted by i-San, the study aimed to understand the impact of these factors on the ability of businesses to reach low-income urban communities with appropriate products and services.

Major barriers to entry for sanitation start-ups in Ghana are the lack of start-up capital; lack of access to affordable banking services (particularly the cost of borrowing); inadequate public infrastructure; and the high cost of creating partnerships with the public sector.

Ghana’s challenging micro-economic climate is the primary barrier impacting the viability of sanitation SMEs. This includes high interest rates; limited access to operational finance; currency depreciation; and high cost of utility.

The study identified several opportunities to support sanitation SMEs in Ghana, including innovative finance; training and business development support; reinforcement of representative associations; and reinforcing the policy and regulatory environment.