Building resilience to climate change experiences from Southern Zambia

As the effects of man-made climate change become more pronounced, water shortages are becoming more common throughout Africa, with Southern Africa identified as a particular climate change hotspot.

This report examines the challenges faced by Southern Water & Sanitation Company Limited (SWSC) in Southern Zambia, as climate change has reduced its available water supply in recent years.

The report outlines steps being taken by SWSC under a utility strengthening programme created by WSUP with support from Wasser fuer Wasser.

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

This Topic Brief presents WSUP’s experience supporting sanitation businesses oriented towards low-income customers in five cities. Each case study highlights changes to the business model or enabling environment with the potential to trigger business growth.

In WSUP’s experience, the success of sanitation businesses depends on factors internal to the business as well as those external, and out of the control of, the business. We have seen that where businesses and development actors are able to identify and push these trigger points, rapid progress can be made in business growth.

Service providers involved in faecal sludge management are held back by a lack of current data on their customer base, operating standards and levels of service. Pula, a mobile app, was developed to address this data gap.

This publication shares the learning from a 3-year process of developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for the Pula app. We outline how the MVP was designed and developed, supported by reflections from the app development team about the technology and user requirements.

The publication concludes with three key recommendations identified by the app development team:

  • Focus on one core feature and ensure this is fit for purpose;
  • Establish a relationship with one target customer, allowing the product to be tested over longer periods; and
  • Focus on developing a product tailored to a single market, which can then be adapted for new markets as required.

See also: Design, Prototype, Test: using Design Sprints to develop an app for sanitation service providers

This Topic Brief sets out the process of institutional change undergone by Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company (NCWSC) to extend services to the informal settlements of Nairobi.

Beginning with the creation of an Informal Settlements Department (ISD) in 2009, the utility has implemented a set of structural reforms, strategies and service delivery approaches which have engendered significant progress towards citywide service provision, and which can be instructive for utilities facing similar challenges across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Water security has a critical role to play in preserving ecosystems, including those in urban areas. Through an in-depth case study of Lusaka, Zambia, this Topic Brief explores how public authorities and their partners can work together to identify and respond effectively to risk by developing systems that protect water resources and therefore better plan for, manage, and supply a city.

Towards citywide sanitation in Lusaka

Lusaka has made huge strides in introducing faecal sludge management (FSM) services for low-income consumers, particularly thanks to the efforts of the city’s utility, Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC).

WSUP has worked closely with Lusaka’s water and sanitation stakeholders, including LWSC and Lusaka City Council (LCC), for a number of years. In particular, LWSC and WSUP have worked together to provide improved on-site sanitation facilities and FSM services to lower-income peri-urban areas (PUAs) of Lusaka.

Thanks to funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (among others), LWSC has been able to improve sanitation access in a number of PUAs with WSUP’s support, using context-specific service delivery models, tools and guidelines that have contributed to the strengthening of the urban sanitation sector as a whole.

The advent of the multi-million-dollar Lusaka Sanitation Program (LSP), led and implemented by LWSC and funded by international donors such as the World Bank and African Development Bank, provides an opportunity to consolidate and scale up the positive FSM pilots and small-scale projects in operation across Lusaka.

This publication examines sanitation and FSM in Lusaka as the LSP begins, and how LWSC and WSUP’s experiences in the city so far are contributing to the LSP as Lusaka moves towards citywide improved on-site sanitation and FSM service provision.

Adapting and replicating a proven partnership model for urban sanitation SWEEP in Chittagong

This Topic Brief explores the replication of a public-private partnership (PPP) that provides safe faecal sludge emptying and transport from on-site sanitation facilities such as pit latrines and septic tanks, marketed as ‘SWEEP’. Following a successful pilot period and subsequent expansion of SWEEP in Dhaka, WSUP is now replicating the SWEEP model in Bangladesh’s second largest city, Chittagong, and will soon be launching the service in the cities of Rangpur and Barisal.

This is the first time that WSUP has replicated a financially viable sanitation business model in a different city to where the pilot period took place: this publication shares the replication process and the lessons learnt to date for other sanitation service providers seeking multi-city expansion.

Working with city authorities to improve services and practices

This Topic Brief documents the approach, outcomes and learning of an integrated sanitation and hygiene programme implemented in Maputo, Mozambique during the period 2013-2017. The programme was funded by the World Bank-managed Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF), and implemented by WSUP and the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) of the World Bank.

The programme aimed to leverage established relationships between WSUP, WSP and the Maputo Municipal Council (CMM) to respond to the continuing need for improved sanitation services in Maputo’s densely populated low-income neighbourhoods (known locally as ‘bairros’).

An analysis of faecal waste flows in Maputo shows that only 3% of the total faecal waste produced passes through the treatment plant, while more than 50% contaminates backyards, the drainage system and Maputo Bay.

To develop a scalable intervention strategy, the JSDF-funded programme targeted the whole of Nlhamankulu District (11 low-income communities with a combined population of 145,000 people), comprising 1) the improvement of toilets in low-income rental compounds; 2) the development of sustainable private sector capacity to provide FSM services adapted to the physical and economic conditions in the bairros; and 3) building technical capacity in CMM’s sanitation department, and promotion of improved sanitary practices at household level.

Barriers and opportunities for sanitation SMEs report cover

This Topic Brief presents a study of the wider market barriers and opportunities facing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in sanitation in Ghana.

Conducted by i-San, the study aimed to understand the impact of these factors on the ability of businesses to reach low-income urban communities with appropriate products and services.

Major barriers to entry for sanitation start-ups in Ghana are the lack of start-up capital; lack of access to affordable banking services (particularly the cost of borrowing); inadequate public infrastructure; and the high cost of creating partnerships with the public sector.

Ghana’s challenging micro-economic climate is the primary barrier impacting the viability of sanitation SMEs. This includes high interest rates; limited access to operational finance; currency depreciation; and high cost of utility.

The study identified several opportunities to support sanitation SMEs in Ghana, including innovative finance; training and business development support; reinforcement of representative associations; and reinforcing the policy and regulatory environment.