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 […]


Water in Uganda: the challenge of offering services to small towns

By Bridget Teirney Life in small towns is rapidly changing for communities across Africa. In the next twenty years the urban population is expected to double, and urban land cover to triple. But urbanisation isn’t just impacting the continents’ large and mega cities. Small towns are also undergoing significant transformation. Straddling both urban and rural […]


School sanitation facilities in Madagascar

A template for action: how new guidelines pave the path to better sanitation in Africa

Joint article by AMCOW, Speak Up Africa, UNICEF and WSUP. This week’s World Water Forum, taking place in Dakar, Senegal, is a timely reminder of how the world is slipping behind its commitment to achieve universal access to safe sanitation by 2030. Access to basic sanitation and hygiene services is a primary concern globally, with […]


It can be done report cover

A joint publication by AMCOW, Speak Up Media, UNICEF and WSUP

On the 10th of June, 2021, the African Council of Ministers on Water (AMCOW) launched the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG), a new initiative to help improve national and subnational sanitation and hygiene policy across the continent.

The policy guidelines aim to ease the process of resolving country-level enabling environment bottlenecks that stand in the way of African governments in meeting their national, regional, and global sanitation and hygiene obligations. They provide direction in functional policy drafting, broad stakeholder engagement, monitoring, and generic technical content specific to sanitation and hygiene service provision.

Download resource

This report explains the background to the creation of the ASPG and presents the importance of these policy guidelines. It then outlines examples from across Africa showing how the six parts to the guidelines can be applied:

Sanitation Systems and Services (South Africa)

Hygiene and Behaviour Change (Rwanda)

Institutional Arrangements (Senegal)

Regulation (Zambia)

Capacity Development (South Africa)

Funding and Financing (Chad)

High-level advocacy is key to the success of the ASPG rollout. Engaging senior policymakers in this process is the winning formula of success. Time and resources will be invested in continuous advocacy meetings and a wide stakeholder engagement to ensure no one is left behind during the policy process.The ASPG provides a wide range of resources that requires investing in the various stakeholders’ capacity building. This process presents an excellent opportunity for documenting both the learning and sharing, as part of knowledge management for policy processes.

Previous experiences across the continent clarify that Africa can achieve the indicators of progress outlined in the guidelines because they have been done before, even if only in a few countries. This time around the focus is on increasing the scale of success to the entire continent.

Africa has rightfully and decisively opted to pursue something that its leaders and populations can deliver. With political will and determination to design the right policies towards a common goal, the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines should generate a high level of confidence and certainty amongst the continent’s authorities, summarised by these encouraging words: it can be done.

 

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.

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 […]


WSUP has been working to catalyse the Ghanaian market for improved sanitation through introducing and selling affordable and desirable products. While it sounds simple, efforts to sell various sanitation products in Ga West (in Greater Accra) and Kumasi were thwarted by overarching issues that prevented potential customers from purchasing and installing sanitation products in their homes.

Using quotes from residents of Ga West and Kumasi as discussion points, this report explores the financial, social, legal and physical hurdles to improving household sanitation in Ghana. We demonstrate the impact that such a ‘disabling’ environment can have on market-based programmes and make suggestions for practical activities that WSUP and other actors could pursue to ease the path to the market for safe sanitation products in the future:

  1. Incentivise product and business development to reduce costs
  2. Reduce dependence on public toilets as primary sanitation facilities
  3. Enforce existing by-laws in a sensitive manner
  4. Target and inform landlords about investing in sanitation
  5. Increase local government funding for sanitation activities
  6. Tailor financial mechanisms to be more inclusive
  7. Apply subsidies carefully to avoid distorting the market

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 […]