Our future is at hand: strengthening hygiene and increasing access to water and sanitation services in Madagascar

In these recent months, we have seen hand hygiene become a fundamental component of people’s health and safety, giving all the more reason for better investment in water, sanitation and hygiene services. As Madagascar continues to grapple with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring long-term systemic change in water, sanitation and hygiene is vital. Over the […]


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 video shows how a citywide plan aims to tackle Malindi’s dirty secret: sanitation

Malindi, popular for its beautiful beaches and a celebrated tourist town, has a dirty secret. Three-quarters of the city’s 310,000 residents have no access to safely managed sanitation. Residents are forced to rely on illegal and unsafe pit-emptying services and the waste that is collected is then dumped at an unregulated municipal dumpsite or disposed […]


The residents of the coastal town of Malindi, popular for its beautiful beaches, largely depend on on-site sanitation. There is no waste treatment plant and only 25% of the waste is safely managed. As a result, 90% of hand dug wells are contaminated causing serious health risks in the communities.

Leaders in Kilifi County Government and the water and sanitation utility, Malindi Water and Sewerage Company (MAWASCO) have recognised the urgent need to improve the sanitation and solid waste challenges in the city and have created an ambitious plan to tackle this problem.

This summary report shares the vision for city-wide inclusive sanitation (CWIS) and the developed action and investment plans.

Marginalised urban communities are often characterised by three things: complexity, interdependence of challenges, and constant evolution.

The sheer numbers of people living close together in poorly planned communities can make improving the quality of life extremely difficult. The rapid rate of urbanisation – by 2050, the number of people living in African cities will double to 1.5 billion – means that there is no such thing as the status quo. Every month, every year, unplanned urban settlements get larger, and more complex.

In urban environments, issues such as water access, drainage, health, street design and solid waste management are all inextricably linked. Poor drainage leads to flooding, causing damage to flimsy sanitation facilities. Rubbish collected in drainage canals can exacerbate the issue and lead to stagnant water which becomes a breeding ground for disease. Sanitation facilities cannot be safely emptied if poor road access makes it impossible for emptying services to operate.

Tackling these issues in an integrated manner makes intuitive sense – but too often it just doesn’t happen, due to significant barriers such as cost, complexity, and the siloed nature of the development sector.

This report by Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and Arquitectura sin Fronteras (also known as ASF-España, referred to in the report as ASF-E), examines how to overcome this immense challenge, from the perspective of water and sanitation services.

The report demonstrates why water and sanitation improvements can be more effective when combined with other areas of urban development, and analyses how, in practice, this integration can occur.

Drawing on evidence from cities such as Maputo, Accra, Nairobi and Antananarivo, the report finds that integrating WASH with wider slum development can improve the overall impact, and the ease of delivery, of WASH services.

The stepping stones for sustainable water

For the residents of Soalandy, a commune in Madagascar, a new laundry block with access to clean and drinkable water is bringing enormous value. But ensuring that the service is sustainable is so much more than bricks and mortar. It is about community buy-in, training and community-led management. The theme of this year’s World Water […]


New water systems of enormous value to growing towns in Ghana

A key trend of urbanisation across Africa is villages evolving into small towns but lacking the accompanying investment in basic services. The Ashanti region, Ghana’s most populated region, is an example of this challenge. As a result, whole communities lack access to clean water. To address this issue, WSUP has been working with The One […]


Valuing water: the importance of clean water for garment industry workers

The readymade garment industry is the lifeline of the Bangladesh economy. Yet, the workers in these factories who live in nearby low-income communities lack access to clean water, safe sanitation, and handwashing facilities. Investing in these basic services at the community level can bring clear benefits for businesses – a healthier workforce means better productivity. […]


What does ‘quality’ sanitation mean in low-income urban areas?

By Sam Drabble, Head of Evaluation, Research & Learning Broadly speaking, when we advocate for investment in sanitation, it is because we are trying to achieve two critically important aims: improve human health, and improve wellbeing or quality of life. But to what extent are sanitation interventions actually achieving these aims? In many cases, the […]