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. […]


Women spread the message: story of a communications leader in Kenya

By Emily Kirigha, Project Manager, and Beatrice Masaba, People & Support Officer, Kenya Every single project and activity WSUP has been involved with in Africa and Asia relies on the direct participation and deep involvement of women. From the hard work done by female residents in their communities to their role as mothers and sisters […]


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 […]


Githogoro. Photo by Brian Otieno

City leaders to highlight adaptation efforts in urban water at COP26

On 11 November, WSUP along with city leaders from Lusaka, Maputo, and Nairobi will be sharing experiences of building urban resilience in the face of climate change. Climate change is bringing a wealth of challenges to cities, such as heat rise, increased migration, flooding and impacts from extreme weather, and most of these are felt […]


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 […]


Protect the infrastructure: climate proofing water and sanitation systems

This is the second blog in a series exploring 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 two: Protect the infrastructure When Hurricane Sandy struck the United States back in 2013, the wastewater systems were overwhelmed causing over 10 billion gallons of […]


Use every drop: helping water providers fight back against climate-driven water scarcity

This is the first blog in a series exploring 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 one: Use every drop For centuries, the world has lived as if water were an unlimited resource. Now, thanks to climate change piling pressure […]


Access to water and sanitation: the missing link in urban climate adaptation

Ahead of COP26, WSUP has released a new report highlighting the importance of water and sanitation services in helping cities adapt to climate change. Drawing on evidence from seven countries the report, entitled The missing link in climate adaptation: How improved access to water and sanitation is helping cities adapt to climate change finds that […]