Author Archives: WSUP

New call for researchers (WSUP – Urban Sanitation Research Initiative)

Analysis of citizen and decision-maker attitudes to freshwater pollution in Bangladesh cities as a basis for more effective regulation.

This research project is jointly commissioned by the REACH global research programme (led by Oxford University) and the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative, (a 2017-2020 research programme led by Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor, WSUP). The project will be managed by the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative team with single point-of-contact, but should aim to align with the broad vision and specific requirements of both research programmes.

The research will investigate citizen and decision-maker attitudes to pollution of watercourses in urban environments in Bangladesh, and attitudes towards regulation to reduce such pollution. We require detailed consideration of two specific types of pollution, and of their associated regulation, namely a) faecal contamination arising from widespread discharge from septic tanks, pit latrines, and hanging toilets to surface drains and water bodies and to subsurface water bodies, and b) industrial discharge to surface and subsurface water bodies. However, we would expect detailed consideration of these specific issues to be embedded within a wider framework of analysis of urban freshwater pollution, and its regulation, in Bangladeshi cities.

Bids due: Before 1700 (UK) Tuesday 13th March 2018

Focus country: Bangladesh

Maximum budget: GBP 80,000

For more information and details on the bidding process, see the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative website (‘Current research calls’).

How did Vizakhapatnam become India’s third cleanest city?

Last week the Indian Government released its annual rankings of the country’s cleanest cities, as part of its Swachh Bharat Mission to clean up India by 2019.

The rankings assess factors such as eliminating open defecation, solid waste management, education and capacity building and are a significant part of the cleanliness push by Prime Minister Modi.

Visakhapatnam, a city in Andra Pradesh where WSUP has been working since 2015, was declared the third cleanest city of India – two places up from last year and a dramatic turnaround from two years ago when it was ranked 44th.

How did Vizag manage to continue to rise up the rankings?

WSUP has observed strong political leadership on the issues of sanitation and waste management, particularly from the city’s Municipal Commissioner Mr Hari Narayanan and the former Municipal Commissioner, Mr Praveen Kumar. Rapid progress on tackling open defecation – the city was declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) in December 2016 – could not have been achieved without this leadership.

WSUP, which has provided technical assistance to the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) through its WSUP Advisory consulting arm, believes that the ward by ward approach to tackling open defecation was a significant factor behind the city’s success.

By using pre-existing community structures, GVMC was able to break down the challenge of “citywide” into coordinated, sequenced and localised pockets of activity, making it easier to make progress. Ward-level coordination committees were set up to manage the work in each ward, and these in turn then engaged women’s groups to identify problematic areas, patrol so-called ‘hot-spots’ where people were defecating in the open, and promote the uptake of toilets.

Read more on the innovations behind Visakhapatnam’s achievements:

Having achieved ODF status, the focus in Visakhapatnam is now on improving management of human waste across the city, as well as maintaining new facilities and improving hygiene practices to ensure that the progress made to date is sustainable.

WSUP’s work in Visakhapatnam has been supported by USAID.

Public Finance for WASH Masters Research Scholarships 2017

The Public Finance for WASH initiative ( announces three scholarships each of GBP 1500 (or €1700) to support masters-level research around public finance for pro-poor sanitation or pro-poor WASH in low-income contexts.

Public Finance for WASH is a knowledge platform run by IRC  and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP). PF4WASH aims to increase sector awareness and understanding of domestic public finance solutions for WASH, primarily through making documentation accessible and disseminating existing knowledge.

These scholarships are offered jointly by IRC and WSUP.

Masters students with projects that are due to be completed by 31st October 2017 are eligible. Projects should relate to one of the following countries: Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda or Burkina Faso.

Ideal research projects will closely align with the interests of Public Finance for WASH, will generate new empirical data, will be of scope that is plausible within the short research period of a masters research project but sufficient to provide the basis for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and will ideally help to identify solutions and ways forward.

More information about the scholarships and how to apply is provided here. All applications must be submitted to by 22nd May 2017.

The world can’t wait for sewers: Is container-based sanitation a viable answer to the global sanitation crisis?


For many people living in low-income urban areas, a flush toilet or sewer connection is little more than a pipe dream. Often the infrastructure doesn’t exist or can’t be constructed in such densely populated or topographically challenging areas, or service fees are simply too high.

The world needs a viable, high-quality alternative to piped sanitation that can reach people living in these areas – like container-based sanitation (CBS) businesses. These enterprises are uniquely suited to the challenges of serving dense urban populations, but are not without their challenges.

This new joint report by EY and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) considers those obstacles, presenting insights aiming to improve CBS businesses’ prospects for success.

The report focuses on Clean Team Ghana, a CBS business set up and managed by WSUP. Following the CBS model, Clean Team provides customers with stand-alone toilets that store waste in sealable, removable cartridges that can then be safely removed and taken to a treatment or resource recovery centre.

But the business has faced challenges; negative associations with old-style, poorly managed bucket latrines can be hard to overcome, and questions remain over whether the CBS model can be reliably scaled as a successful business.

With Clean Team having grappled with these challenges in Kumasi for several years, WSUP engaged EY to help, with a team from Enterprise Growth Services (EY’s not-for-profit practice dedicated to supporting social impact businesses in low-income countries) working with Clean Team to identify how it could achieve profitability and get to scale.

The outcomes of that analysis are presented in this report in the form of insights aimed at improving prospects for success – not just for Clean Team but for other CBS enterprises worldwide, offering the potential for them to achieve the scale and impact necessary for CBS to gain official recognition as an improved sanitation option.

“We hope this report provides water, sanitation and hygiene stakeholders with a blueprint for taking CBS to the next level, gaining the recognition that it deserves as an improved sanitation option and scaling it as an important contributor to the achievement of SDG targets.”

Jon Shepard, Director – Enterprise Growth Services, EY & Neil Jeffery, CEO – Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor

Consultancy call: Evaluation of Urban WASH Sector Functionality in WSUP Programme Countries, 2016-2020

Budget: Up to £160,000 including costs and all taxes inclusive of VAT
Deadline for bids:
Wednesday 14 December 2016 at UK 1700 hours

WSUP seeks a consultant to support an urban WASH sector functionality assessment process in six countries.

Specifically, the Consultant will be required a) to finalise WSUP’s existing urban WASH sector functionality framework, creating rating scales for each of the 30 items of this framework; b) to lead assessment of urban WASH sector functionality in WSUP’s six focus countries (Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and Zambia), through a process probably centred around two-day in-country workshops in early 2017 and late 2020, with a probable remote mid-term assessment in late 2018 or early 2019; and c) in parallel with this process, to additionally assess WSUP’s contribution to any observed change in sector functionality at mid-term and in 2020, as a key process of independent evaluation of WSUP’s performance under its grant from DFID 2016-2020.

Maximum total budget (inclusive of expenses and taxes including VAT) is GBP 160,000. This is necessarily an urgent procurement, with start-up in January/early February 2017 necessary in order to be ready for the first in-country workshops planned for March 2017.

Bid submission deadline is 1700 UK time on Wednesday 14 December. Bid format has been designed to be relatively simple and non-onerous. We are happy to respond to clarification queries.

The full ToR can be found on the WSUP website, which outlines the application process.

Evaluation of Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor’s DFID-funded Programme 2012-2015

WSUP is seeking an experienced consultant to conduct a rigorous end-of-programme evaluation. WSUP’s DFID-funded programme runs from December 2012 – March 2016 and targets the adoption and replication of effective urban water, sanitation and hygiene models by WASH service providers, national governments and international financing institutions across the six countries where WSUP has an established presence (Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and Zambia). It is further characterised by a comprehensive programme of research, publications and communications aimed at informing and influencing the international WASH sector. Strong knowledge of methodologies for programme evaluation and experience of evaluating capacity development and institutional influencing interventions are essential. Interested evaluators are encouraged to review the attached terms of reference and submit their proposal to by 12th November 2015.

ToR WSUP’s DFID-funded programme 2012-2015

Now available on WSUP-website for free download: masters-level professional training module “Water and Sanitation for Urban Low-Income Communities”

WSUP/WEDC have developed a teaching resource on urban WASH that is now available online for free, It aims at helping the urban WASH sector to professionalize. We hope it will be helpful for academics and practitioners to use or adapt if they feel it can be of value to them.

In short: this is a masters-level professional training module called “Water and Sanitation for Urban Low-Income Communities”. It was primarily designed to give engineering masters students in low-income countries an overview of things they need to know in order to apply their technical skills in low-income communities, and that’s how WSUP and WEDC are currently using it, in partnership with universities in Africa and Asia. But of course it may be adaptable to other teaching contexts.

It’s designed for classroom delivery, over about 45 hours of contact time. It’s made up of 16 thematic units, and within each unit the materials essentially comprise a Powerpoint presentation plus Lecturer Notes outlining the unit’s aims and content, and providing guidance on how to deliver the class. Some units are flexible in content, to enable adaptation to local contexts.

It can be delivered as an off-the shelf package; or you might want to cut-and-paste parts of it into your own materials; or you might simply use it as guidance in developing other materials.

It’s absolutely free to download, but we do ask that you fill in a brief Use Request Form explaining who you are and how you might use it: evidently, it’s useful for us to be able to communicate this to the funder of the work (DFID).


For information, we expect to have a French-language version available within the next few months.

The module was developed by (alphabetical order): Louise Medland, Guy Norman, Brian Reed, Pippa Scott, Regine Skarubowiz, and Ian Smout; inputs also came from Richard Franceys and Valentina Zuin.