Author Archives: WSUP

Public Finance for WASH: update

Public Finance for WASH has moved: we’ve changed our URL! We’re now at

Public finance and domestic resource mobilisation are absolutely critical for reaching SDG 6. At Public Finance for WASH, a partnership initiative between IRC and WSUP, we remain focused on documenting equitable public finance models in the WASH sphere, aiming to provide a knowledge resource that can help the sector to identify transferable solutions. From the WSUP side, this is being supported by various research projects relating to public finance, under our Urban Sanitation Research Initiative: for example, check out our recent Policy Brief reporting a study of the willingness of Kenyan water utility customers to pay a little bit extra on their water bill to support slum sanitation. From the IRC side, we continue working to document, train and advocate at global and country level, to ensure that more money is disbursed for direct support and the enabling environment, while at the same time aiming for more efficiency in public administration and performance measurement in the WASH public sector.

If you want to work with us in any way, get in touch: pf4wash[at] gmail [dot] com!

WSUP webinar: demystifying the enabling environment for urban sanitation

Demystifying the enabling environment for urban sanitation: case studies from Bangladesh, Kenya and Zambia 

Tuesday 10th April, 1pm – 2.30pm BST

Register here

WSUP is hosting a webinar to explore what an enabling environment for urban sanitation really looks like. Despite its evident importance to achieving scale, the components of a well-functioning enabling environment for urban sanitation are weakly understood.

Join us on April 10th to hear how we are working to strengthen enabling environments across WSUP locations.

Amirul Hasan, WSUP Business Development Lead, Dhaka (Bangladesh)
Sibongile Ndaba, WSUP Business Development Lead, Lusaka (Zambia)
Emanuel Owako, WSUP Project Manager, Kisumu (Kenya)

This webinar will share the lessons from a 5-year programme – funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – which aimed to catalyse the market for on-site sanitation services in Bangladesh, Kenya and Zambia, through the development of flexible public-private arrangements.

We will begin the session by introducing a new framework for conceptualising and evaluating the enabling environment, grounded in WSUP’s experience of implementing urban WASH programmes in six countries.

Our speakers will then share their experiences of strengthening key components of the local enabling environment – ranging from institutional mandates, regulatory effectiveness and service provider capacity to infrastructure, technology, affordability and consumer behaviour.

Participants will also be introduced to “The Bottom Line”: a new online simulation which brings to life some of the challenges faced by sanitation businesses.

Click here to register.

New call for tenders – WSUP

Strengthening public finance for urban sanitation services in Mozambique

It is estimated that poor sanitation costs Maputo’s residents over US$ 7.4 million annually as a result of access time lost, premature deaths, productivity losses due to sickness, and health care costs. The majority of the population relies on on-site sanitation, 28% on septic tanks, and 28% on improved latrines. Many of these systems are emptied by mechanical and manual private operators paid for by households themselves, the total value of which is unknown but thought to be significant. The remainder of the population, over 30%, have access to a non-improved latrine. It is this latter section of population that is most negatively and disproportionally impacted by poor sanitation.

In December 2016, a new sanitation surcharge was approved by CMM (Municipal Council of Maputo), with plans for implementation in 2017. WSUP intends to support CMM in the implementation of the surcharge and introduction of eligible sanitation services. CRA (Conselho de Regulação de Águas, the national water and sanitation regulator) and WSUP intend to undertake a 6 month research project to capture learning from the implementation of previous activities in Maputo, and the replication by CRA in Beira and Quelimane. This includes a documentation of the process, an assessment of the sanitation surcharge, regulatory framework agreement and compliance with the agreement (transfers and investments).

Consultancy objective:
The overall objective of this consultancy is to strengthen CRA’s capacity to more effectively and equitably mobilise public finance into urban sanitation services in Mozambique. More specifically, the objectives are:

1. adapt tools and strengthen capacity to model financial cost of delivering sanitation services in urban centres of Mozambique, and
2. strengthen CRA’s regulatory mechanisms, tools and oversight to ensure more effective and equitable sanitation service delivery in Mozambique.

Bids due: Before 23:59 (GMT +2) on 22nd March 2018
Location: Desk and Mozambique
Start date of consultancy: 30th March 2018
End date of consultancy: 18th September 2018

More information and details of how to apply can be accessed on the WSUP website (‘Current research calls’).

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