Unhygienic water storage in Dhaka

“If I do not have enough water, then how do I keep my toilet clean?”

We wanted to highlight an article published recently in the Journal of Tropical Medicine and International Health: If I do not have enough water, then how could I bring additional water for toilet cleaning? Addressing water scarcity to promote hygienic use of shared toilets in Dhaka, Bangladesh The article describes the development of behaviour change […]


This report, part of WSUP’s Urban Sanitation Research Initiative, explores the background to the urban sanitation sector in Kenya.

Summary of findings:

  • Kenya is one of Africa’s top 10 economies, experiencing strong urban growth amid deep institutional and governance reforms.
  • A minority of urban residents use improved sanitation facilities as per the JMP definition, while wastewater treatment and faecal sludge transport/treatment services are largely inefficient.
  • The legal framework for sanitation remains fragmented and focuses on sewerage services.
  • The policy framework sets high ambitions and recognises a range of solutions and service provision models.
  • There is significant institutional fragmentation and overlap, especially between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.
  • Investments in sanitation for low-income areas are almost entirely donor-funded.
  • Inadequate institutional capacity, inadequate sector financing and insufficient data are major barriers to pro-poor sanitation.

This report, part of WSUP’s Urban Sanitation Research Initiative, explores the background to the urban sanitation sector in Ghana.

Summary of findings:

  • Ghana is a fast-growing economy that has made notable progress in reducing poverty.
  • Urban infrastructure has not kept pace with cities’ expansion and high levels of rural-urban migration.
  • Only a fraction of urban residents use improved sanitation facilities as per the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) definition, but transport and treatment services are developing.
  • Well-developed legal, policy, and strategy frameworks exist but need to be fully implemented.
  • Sanitation has not been a public funding priority and households bear the bulk of the costs.
  • From lack of prioritisation to insufficient demand and limited supply, barriers to developing pro-poor sanitation services remain significant.
Situation analysis of the urban sanitation sector in Bangladesh

This report, an output of WSUP’s Urban Sanitation Research Initiative, explores the background to the urban sanitation sector in Bangladesh.

Summary of findings:

  • Bangladesh is a lower middle-income country with high ambitions, but poor infrastructure in urban areas is holding back economic growth.
  • Onsite sanitation is the norm; transport and treatment services for sewage and faecal sludge are under-developed.
  • The legal framework for sanitation is fragmented, but recent progress has been made in developing a draft regulatory framework for faecal sludge management (FSM).
  • There is significant overlap in institutional responsibilities, contributing to the limited supply of FSM services.
  • Funding has focused on rural sanitation, and sewerage services to urban areas.
  • Rapid urbanisation, low decentralisation, lack of demand for and supply of FSM services and lack of investment are all major barriers to pro-poor urban sanitation.
  • Despite challenges, the sector has an opportunity to bring about change.
Water kiosk operator in Naivasha_ Kenya

Aims

To assess how selected County Governments have allocated funds to the water and sanitation sector from FY 2014/15 to 2017/18, and what areas these funds cover, providing evidence that can highlight patterns in allocations, prioritise budget expenditure, and encourage departments to effectively and efficiently improve service delivery.

Findings

Weak linkages remain between policy, planning, budgeting and service delivery in Kenyan Counties. There is a lack of clear national policy guidelines on costing and budgeting for constitutional functions assigned to both national and county. Counties face significant cash flow challenges and budgetary pressures leading to high budget deficits, rising debts and poor service delivery. Most sector or departmental budgets are not disaggregated, so expenditure is not readily identifiable it is therefore hard to track.

Next steps

Improved County legislation and investment in water and sanitation will be required, as will County-wide master plans. Financial planning, management and tracking are necessary tools to be further developed.

Solid waste in Mirpur, Dhaka

Aims

To assess how Bangladeshi City Corporations (specifically Dhaka North, Chittagong and Rangpur) deliver sanitation services to their citizens and how the external environment and long-term, operational and short-term factors influence City Corporations’ capacity to plan, finance, design and implement sustainable sanitation services.

Findings

Despite Bangladesh’s achievement of eradicating open defecation, access to improved sanitation facilities remains poor in low-income areas in the three cities.

  • City Corporations are not adequately aware of their roe in providing and managing sanitation.
  • City Corporation staff have few opportunities to participate in sanitation planning activities.
  • City Corporations do not have a unit dedicated to providing sanitation services.
  • Internally-generated revenue within City Corporations tends to be low, and central government allocations are not sufficient.

None of the City Corporations assessed have a mission statement or a commitment to improving sanitation.

Next steps

This project captured the state of three CCs’ capacity at just one moment in time; despite the barriers, there is awareness within each of the City Corporations that these must be addressed if sanitation is to improve at a city-wide level. Clear leadership from elected officials who are accountable to residents, such as Mayors, will be vital as they have the mandate to make structural changes within CCs, to design mission statements and sanitation plans, and to provide direction.

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New research programme to focus on sanitation in Bangladesh, Ghana and Kenya

What is innovation and where does it come from? It’s not just about good ideas – after all, when it comes to international development, plenty of strong concepts don’t translate into widespread sector change or (crucially) improve the situations of those we are trying to help. Truly innovative ideas are those that transform into workable […]


Aims

To build towards better understanding of pro-poor sanitation investment practice, and to (potentially) lay the foundation for possible future research around sanitation investment planning in low-income contexts in Bangladesh, Ghana and Kenya.

Findings

The proposed model uses a “source-pathway-receptor” approach: it considers release of pathogens into the environment, transport in the environment, and eventual human exposure.

Next steps

The model can potentially provide a framework for comparing the relative impacts of different sanitation options on health; the next step should be to test the approach in a real city.

A follow-on project is now underway in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Gasia Poa pit emptiers at work in Kisumu, Kenya

Aims

Based on detailed literature reviews and interviews with key stakeholders, this project aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of the urban sanitation landscape in Bangladesh, Ghana and Kenya. This could then be used to inform WSUP’s future research on key issues facing the sector in each of these countries and identify opportunities to influence change.

Findings

Three reports examine each country’s wider socio-economic and political contexts, and provide an overview of institutional and financing arrangements for the sector. They also highlight the challenges of developing pro-poor urban sanitation services and identifies possible drivers of change.

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Kanyama first transfer station

Findings

Conventional sewer systems are the most expensive urban sanitation solution, followed by systems based on septic tanks, ventilated improved pits (VIP), urine-diverting dry toilets (UDDT), then pour-flush pit latrines. Simplified sewer systems may cost less than both conventional sewer systems and septic tank-based systems.

Next steps

Cost reporting methodologies are inconsistent, and few studies provide data on lifecycle costs for the full urban sanitation chain. Building sanitation cost databases at country or city level could be useful for investment planning.

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