Zambia has one of the fastest growing populations in the world.

Nearly half the population live in urban areas and this is expected to grow. Most low-income families in major towns and cities still rely on privately-owned boreholes or shallow wells, where water is expensive and often contaminated with raw sewage.

Access to improved sanitation in the capital city Lusaka has fallen over the last 15 years, and over half of the population currently lack access to even a basic sanitation service. At least 65% of people live in low-income communities, also known as peri-urban areas, which usually lack sewers. This means they need to use on-site sanitation services such as pit latrines and septic tanks instead, which can contaminate nearby water supplies. This has a huge impact on the lowest-income urban communities which are regularly struck in times of cholera outbreaks.

What are we doing to help?

We work in Zambia with water companies, service providers and governing bodies to improve access to safe water and sanitation for urban communities.

611k people with improved water services
187k people with improved sanitation services
830k people who have received hygiene training
181m additional funds unlocked from other sources

Improving sanitation in low-income communities in Lusaka, Zambia

Where we work in Zambia

Key activities in Zambia

Mobilising resources

Our goal is to mobilise more resources that will benefit residents in the lowest-income urban areas. This includes public and private investment and improving the targeting and effectiveness of large-scale investment by international organisations. We’re currently working with Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) on the Lusaka Sanitation Programme, a US $180 million investment financed by the World Bank and the African Development Bank. This is one of the first steps towards implementing the Lusaka Sanitation Master Plan which aims to provide city-wide sanitation services by 2035.

Our work already shows that financially viable approaches, for example our partnership to improve the collection and treatment of waste from pit latrines, can be scaled up and incorporated into major investment programmes that benefit large numbers of low-income residents in the city.

Read more about the Lusaka Sanitation Programme and the Lusaka Sanitation Master Plan

Improving the capacity of utilities

While our work in Zambia is currently concentrated in Lusaka and Livingstone, we also work in towns in the Copperbelt Province and provide some support to national bodies such as NWASCO – the national regulator.  In every urban area we’ve worked in we’ve developed strong relationships with the local utilities, including Lusaka, Mulonga Kafubu, Nkana and Southern. We work with them to build local capacity, improve business models and ensure the lower-income urban populations are targeted for improved services.

Blog: April 2018 – Sanitation set for major upgrade in Lusaka, Zambia

Improving sanitation service delivery to low-income customers

We’re working with LWSC and community-based water trusts to improve the delivery of sanitation services. This includes assessing the series of activities needed to manage faecal sludge, also known as the ‘sanitation chain’. We’re testing models which, when proved viable, can be scaled up to deliver safe sanitation to the lowest-income districts in Lusaka. These models are being used to inform the development of city wide business models for the sanitation chain.

Report: April 2018 – Towards city wide sanitation in Lusaka: the next phase of non-sewered sanitation

Through this partnership we’ve been able to implement innovations and approaches making LWSC a pace-setter in service provision to the peri-urban areas.

Yvonne Siyeni, Head of Peri-Urban DepartmentLusaka Water & Sewerage Company

To find out how you can support our work in Zambia, please contact us at or call us on +44 (0)20 7822 1867.