Gender inequity at the level of policy, regulation and management limits the voice and participation of women decision-makers and can perpetuate inequities throughout the sanitation sector. To address this, the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative aims to analyse gender inequity in educational and professional settings of sanitation-related organisations.

  • Among staff at sanitation-related public-sector institutions in Kenya, a large majority of both men and women recognise that women have different needs and priorities when it comes to sanitation.
  • Both men and women showed awareness of the needs of women regarding particular attributes of latrines, such as menstrual hygiene management (MHM) facilities or physical safety.
  • A more participatory approach allowed more gendered perspectives and seemed to lead to gender-sensitive programming and policies; an infrastructure-led approach, focusing more on hardware installation and less on participation, led to less gender-sensitive programming and policies.

This research was led by Athena Infonomics; more information about the project and other reports can be found here.

Gender inequity at the level of policy, regulation and management limits the voice and participation of women decision-makers and can perpetuate inequities throughout the sanitation sector. To address this, the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative aims to analyse gender inequity in educational and professional settings of sanitation-related organisations.

  • Women working at sanitation-related public-sector institutions in Kenya reported challenges at work, which limited their professional aspirations, their voice and their influence on policies.
  • Barriers exist at all stages of career development: girls face gender bias in school when pursuing technical degrees; young career-women must balance greater familial obligations than men; and mid-career women lack many of the networking opportunities that men have.
  • Bullying and sexual harassment of women have not been adequately addressed thus far, leaving some women with little support and few alternatives.

It is crucial for the sanitation sector to meet the basic needs of their female staff, such as:

  1. Full access to MHM-friendly latrines at all sites, including waste treatment plants and field sites.
  2. Maternity and paternity leave, flexible scheduling and lactation rooms for new mothers
  3. For young mothers and fathers, create nearby or on-site alternatives to workshops and conferences that require travel. When travel is unavoidable, make arrangements for young mothers to return quickly in an emergency.
  4. Provide PPE that are designed for women, for all jobs that require protective gear.
  5. Create a culture that is intolerant to sexual jokes in professional settings. Create confidential systems that protect victims of sexual harassment, and discourage sexual predators.
  6. Create professional groups, systems and events which allow women to network, mentor and support each other, during hours and in locations that are friendly to women.
  7. Educate managers and staff of the benefits of both gender equity among staff, and equal representation of women and men among management.
  8. Make salary structures and promotion policies transparent and ensure that all employees are considered equally.

This research was led by Athena Infonomics; more information about the project and other reports can be found here.

The Urban Sanitation Research Initiative aims to analyse the internal workings of organisations that make and implement sanitation policy, regulation and services to address four specific questions: (a) the gender balance in decision-making/technical roles in these organisations; (b) how attitudes to sanitation vary between male and female decision-makers; (c) the key barriers to female participation in these roles; (d) provide recommendations for equitable recruitment, placement and career advancement of women.

Across six national and County sanitation-related institutions in Kenya, an average of 37% of top-level staff were women. Corporate leadership roles are particularly unevenly split between genders.

This mapping exercise is part of a wider analysis of attitudes of decision-makers in the sanitation sector in Kenya and the barriers to these roles for women.

This research was led by Athena Infonomics; a summary of a literature review from this project can be found here.

Gender inequity at the level of policy, regulation and management can perpetuate inequities throughout the sanitation sector, limiting the voice and participation of women decision-makers.

A literature review was completed as part of a research project analysing the internal workings of organisations that contribute to and implement sanitation services and policy in Kenya.

Despite evidence that equal gender representation at managerial levels can increase firm performance and the quality of services provided, women are still under-represented in sanitation governance globally and in Kenya.

Numerous barriers to advancement exist at various stages, from a bias against women training in STEM fields to hostile work environments that discourage advancement.

Significant gaps remain in the literature on women working and progressing in sanitation and other technical fields.

The next stage of the research is to assess (a) the gender balance in decision-making/technical roles in these organisations; (b) how attitudes to sanitation vary between male and female decision-makers; (c) and the key barriers to female participation in these roles. This will lead to recommendations for equitable recruitment, placement and career advancement of women.

The full literature review can be accessed here.

This research was led by Athena Infonomics; results from a mapping exercise of sanitation public bodies in Kenya can be found here.

Slow uptake of household toilets in urban Ghana is due to several factors, including (but not limited to) cost which is a key focus of stakeholders. Collating data on the costs of constructing toilets in Kumasi, this Practice Note provides points of comparison for others seeking to build toilets in Ghana and beyond.

Ghana has endured a difficult macro-economic period, with rates of inflation rising to around 17.5% in 2016. Although rates have since reduced, the impact on costs of materials, labour and credit were a constraint on sales of Round Concrete Tanks (RCTs), pit latrines and SaTo Pans in Kumasi in 2018 and 2019.

Lead author: Aquaya Institute.

In Kisumu, Kenya, the majority of households rely on pit latrines, though the servicing of these latrines is largely unsafe. This Brief assesses the market potential to expand safe fecal waste emptying services to low-income areas in Kisumu.

Price is the largest barrier for this population to access safe emptying services, which are more than double the cost of existing practices.

Future interventions need to address the price barrier between formal (safe) and informal (unsafe) faecal sludge emptying. The Aquaya Institute are currently conducting a randomised, real-money demand trial in Kisumu to quantify the gap between existing prices and consumer willingness-to-pay for safe pit emptying services.

Supporting the development of the National Sanitation Authority in Ghana so it can co-ordinate the push to achieve pro-poor sanitation across the country

This Policy Brief provides recommendations based on research conducted to feed into the development of the Government of Ghana’s proposed National Sanitation Authority.

While the exact shape of the NSA is still being debated by the Cabinet of the GoG, this is an  opportunity to better align and streamline the sanitation activities currently performed by several governmental and non-governmental bodies.

We recommend that the GoG move forward in establishing the NSA, resourced appropriately at national, regional and district levels so that it can achieve pro-poor sanitation across the country.

This research was led by IMC Worldwide; an earlier review of international comparative models can be found here.

According to the Local Government (City Corporation) Act 2009, City Corporations (CCs) are responsible for sanitation in large cities – a key public service, because millions of urban Bangladeshis of all income levels rely on on-site sanitation like septic tanks. But are CCs able to deliver safe and affordable sanitation services such as faecal sludge management (FSM) to millions of urban citizens? And is there internal awareness of the issues, and a desire to overcome barriers blocking improvements to sanitation for all, including the very poorest?

Researchers examined organisational practice and capacity for sanitation planning and investment in three CCs – Dhaka North (serving a population of just under 8 million in 2011), Chittagong (2.5 million, 2011) and Rangpur (120,000, 2017).

This Policy Brief summarises the findings and provides recommendations about how CC staff can improve pro-poor sanitation.

The establishment of a strong institutional framework for Kenya’s sanitation sector can help secure better urban sanitation outcomes by coordinating action, ensuring cooperation and generating commitment among the responsible organisations at all levels. Kenya’s institutional framework is currently in transition and the enactment of the Environmental and Sanitation Bill will provide the much-needed enabling environment for coordinated and regulated interventions, especially for low-income areas and informal urban settlements.

This research-into-policy work was carried out in close collaboration with WASREB (the national water regulator) and the Ministry of Health, and aimed to identify lessons from decentralised countries that have faced similar challenges, to engage Kenyan stakeholders to assess the lessons’ adaptability, and to identify a way forward and engage in policy dialogue in the context of the ongoing institutional reforms.

The main institutional bottlenecks identified in Kenya were:

  1. Overlap and competition for sector
  2. Weak incentives at sub-national level to commit policy attention to urban sanitation
  3. Limited regulatory oversight for onsite sanitation

The establishment of a harmonised approach to sanitation could solve a number of critical institutional limitations, which include functional overlaps, competition around sector leadership, weak political incentives for governments to commit policy attention to sanitation, and a disjointed legislative and regulatory framework for onsite sanitation service provision.

Shared toilets are often dirty and poorly maintained: but for some slum-dwellers living in tiny dwellings, they’re the only option. So what are the requirements for high-quality shared sanitation?

This Policy Brief outlines a 3-country research project starting in October 2018 under the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative, aiming to identify trackable criteria for high-quality shared sanitation. This research will deliver detailed empirical assessment of the determinants of user experience, and analysis to identify criteria that enable definition of minimum standards for shared sanitation.