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

WSUP shows its stripes to highlight climate change in urban environments

The 21st of June is international #ShowYourStripes Day, and to mark it we’ve adapted WSUP’s city skyline logo to incorporate the dramatic visualisation of our changing climate created by professor Ed Hawkins, from the University of Reading. Climate change is already a reality and is only going to get worse in the years ahead. WSUP’s […]


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. […]


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 […]


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 […]


Students sweeping a school sanitation facility, Madagascar

Making progress on sanitation policy: AfricaSan6

How can policy initiatives best accelerate the expansion of sanitation services and help people improve their hygiene practices across Africa? That was one of the questions WSUP and the Eastern and Southern Africa Water and Sanitation (ESAWAS) Regulators Association aimed to address during AfricaSan, the 6th African Conference on Sanitation & Hygiene. WSUP and ESAWAS […]


Safely managed onsite sanitation: a life changer for low-income communities

Toilets: we cannot live without them. However, about half of humanity does. According to the United Nations, 3.6 billion people around the globe live without access to a toilet “that works properly”. With that in mind, the UN has focused on those in need of this very basic service on its campaign for World Toilet […]


Integrate with wider city resilience: collaboration with other areas is crucial

This is the fourth 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 four: Integrate with wider city resilience For water and sanitation, climate change is not only about reducing the emissions of carbon into the Earth’s atmosphere. […]


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 […]