Sanitation financing models for the urban poor – new IRC thematic overview paper

Sijbesma, C., 2011. Sanitation financing models for the urban poor. (Thematic overview paper ; 25).  The Hague: IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
120 p. : 44 boxes, 1 fig., 4 tab.
Includes references, glossary and lists of resources.
Available at: <>

The provision of sanitation services in low-income urban areas is one of the greatest challenges in development. Population growth in developing countries currently outpaces sanitation growth, especially in urban areas. Consequently, in urban areas where poor people reside, and where “formal” sanitation services are not available to them, they experience the compounded effect of serious economic disadvantages such as high risk to public health; a dirty and contaminated environment; no basic human dignity and safety for a large part of the world’s population, especially for adolescent girls and women.

Author Christine van Wijk

This paper catalogues existing financing models that can help the urban poor get access to complete sanitation services. It examines each model based on an analytical framework that comprises six criteria: applicability, simplicity, sustainability, scalability, pro-poor, and equity. It offers a recommendation for mixing financing mechanisms to meet the urban poor’s needs, and makes a plea for developing poor-specific and full-cycle specific plans for sanitation.

Although financing mechanisms include matched funding from national governments, the focus is on financing at and below city level. The contents give an overview of ways that the urban poor and others (e.g. national and local government, NGOs, external donors) have (co-)financed improved sanitation, and the advantages and limitations of each option.

The overview is subdivided by service level and builds on the work of IRC’s WASHCost project on sanitation service levels.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s