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.

Can new pan-African policy guidelines help bring about national sanitation programmes?

With 72% of the 962 million people living in Sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to basic sanitation, and governments struggling to increase access, new action is required to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. This situation has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, further underscoring the need for African governments to meet their national, […]


Build back for the world of tomorrow, not the world of today, experts warn

City leaders need to do more to understand, plan for and respond to the threats of climate change. Cities in developing countries need to focus more on the impacts that climate change will have on their ability to deliver inclusive water and sanitation services, according to speakers at a WSUP event held this week. The […]


Shared sanitation has immensely contributed to sanitation access in urban areas, but is at best considered a “limited” solution due to the lack of quality standards within Sustainable Development Goal 6.

This policy brief presents the main results of the QUISS project (Quality Indicators of Shared Sanitation), a three-country comparative mixed-methods study that identified the key criteria of what constitutes “acceptable quality” shared toilets in urban low-income contexts and provides recommendations for strengthening the acceptability, functionality and sustainability of shared sanitation facilities.

Click the button below for overall results.

Country specific policy briefs:

QUISS Policy Brief: Bangladesh

QUISS Policy Brief: Ghana

QUISS Policy Brief: Kenya

Taking water, sanitation and hygiene out of the silo: new report builds the case for integrated urban development

Water, sanitation and hygiene improvements need to be integrated into wider urban development initiatives to have maximum reach and impact, according to a new report published by WSUP and Arquitectura sin Fronteras. Drawing on evidence from cities such as Maputo, Accra, Nairobi and Antananarivo, the report, entitled Integrated Slum Upgrading: how can we link water […]


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.

ESAWAS and WSUP renew partnership to strengthen regulation in Africa

The Eastern and Southern Africa Water and Sanitation (ESAWAS) Regulators Association and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) have agreed new partnership objectives to help strengthen pro-poor regulations across Africa. Cities in sub-Saharan Africa continue to face a significant challenge of rapid population growth but lack capacity to provide water and sanitation services […]


For urban sanitation systems to function safely, at scale, over time, and inclusively, they must be organized to support three functions: responsibilityaccountability, and resource planning and management.

This short publication looks at the function of resource planning and management, drawing on a desk review of over 40 urban sanitation investments in twenty-eight countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.