Under pressure from climate change, capacity building pays off in Uganda

By Philip Oyamo, in Kampala On a chilly dawn in Kyenjojo, western Uganda, the electromechanical technician at Mid-West Umbrella for Water and Sanitation (MWUWS), the regional water service provider, assembles his small unit and equipment, ready to drive off to Kigorobya scheme, some 176 kilometres away. This follows a report received at 2am from the […]


The WSUP Advisory report The challenge of small towns: Professionalising piped water services in Western Uganda tells the story of the recent progress made by the Mid Western Umbrella (MWU), one of the recently established Uganda’s structures of water utilities management. The improvements made in water provision in the country come as a much needed response to the challenges presented by the rapid growth of small towns.

Straddling both urban and rural life, small towns are at the forefront of a major change in population distribution, marked by increasing growth in urban populations, and systems and structures need to be adapted to keep up. Provision of water supply is one example of an essential service that needs to adapt to this evolution.

There are five key recommendations the WSUP Advisory report makes to help other utilities serving small towns:

  1. Adopt a decentralised management structure to remain lean, cost-effective and responsive
  2. Develop talent and empower middle management
  3. Start with short-term performance improvement and track simple metrics
  4. Meet operational costs to create breathing room
  5. Align support programmes with operational priorities

The publication provides further insight into each of these recommendations and provides specific experience and insights for all those concerned with sustainably managing water supply in small towns across Africa.

Download WSUP Advisory Uganda report

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.

Upgrading the importance of low-income customers in Ghana’s water sector

The more visible low-income customers are within a utility, the better the quality of the service they will receive. And so, the decision by Ghana’s national water provider, Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), to upgrade the Low-Income Customer Support Unit (LICSU) into a full department is excellent news for many under-served Ghanaians. WSUP has been […]


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 […]


Strengthen systems: foundations for climate resilience in the long term

This is the third blog in a series exploring four recommendations from WSUP’s new report, The missing link in climate adaptation, released ahead of COP26. Read the full report here: www.wsup.com/the-missing-link Recommendation three: Strengthen systems When we think of climate-resilient water and sanitation, many of us will picture infrastructure. We might think of piped water and […]


Building resilience faster: Join us for World Water Week 2021

How can water help us tackle the world’s greatest challenges and build resilient cities faster? Join us virtually for four sessions during the week to find out. As the world faces multiple challenges from increasing urban populations to climate change and with the SDG deadline fast approaching, finding ways to improve the resilience of cities […]


New report explores market-based solutions to meet SDG6 targets

Inspired by best practice within the private sector, a new report titled A meeting of mindsets highlights how social enterprises and sustainable investors can work together to develop market-based solutions to tackle one of the world’s biggest challenges. Increasing number of mainstream investors are prioritising sustainability initiatives – a welcome addition to the SDG funding […]


Core to WSUP’s guiding strategy is the belief that market-based solutions will contribute significantly to sustainable progress in tackling the world’s biggest challenge: water and sanitation for all.

However, financially viable business models targeting the poorest residents are just not very many.

Our work with local service providers, social enterprises, and WASH-driven start-ups, seeks to de-risk entry into the water and sanitation market, and drive growth for the business models with the potential to create lasting change.

The ideas outlined in this report explores how social enterprises and sustainable investors can work together to make SDG 6 a reality.

Read more about this report on NextBillion.