Category Archives: Africa

The ‘perennial hope’: private sector investment in WASH in Nigeria

The ‘perennial hope’: private sector investment in WASH in Nigeria | Source: WaterAid Blog, Aug 11 2016 |

With WASH in Nigeria suffering low levels of investment, and current investments performing poorly, Michael Ojo, Country Director for WaterAid Nigeria, asks why the Nigerian water sector remains such an unattractive proposition for investors.

As things stand, the true extent of national funding for WASH in Nigeria is difficult to ascertain.


Community members collecting water from one of the two functioning boreholes in Etenyi village, Ado Local government area, Benue state, Nigeria. Adequate funds in the WASH sector and proper targeting of those funds will help ensure we reach everyone with these life-saving services.

Although the country’s water utilities receive subventions from the Government, funding allocations are inadequate, resulting not only in these utilities producing below capacity but also in a widening of the financing gap for infrastructure investments and maintenance over the years. Investment in strengthening the utilities’ structure and systems has also been insufficient.

Urban utilities have not only not extended their coverage in terms of connections, these have actually declined significantly – from 32% in 1990 to 3% in 2015, according to the 2015 Update Report of the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) of WHO and UNICEF.

From whichever angle you look at it, this level of service can only be described as paltry – but it also underlines the opportunity presented. Revenue streams from taxes have not grown, customers are not metered, and the collection efficiency of tariffs and charges remains one of the lowest in the world.

Read the complete article.


Sanitation investments in Ghana: An ethnographic investigation of the role of tenure security, land ownership and livelihoods

Sanitation investments in Ghana: An ethnographic investigation of the role of tenure security, land ownership and livelihoods. BMC Public Health, July 2016.  Authors: Y. Awunyo-Akaba, J. Awunyo-Akaba, et. al.

Background – Ghana’s low investment in household sanitation is evident from the low rates of improved sanitation. This study analysed how land ownership, tenancy security and livelihood patterns are related to sanitation investments in three adjacent rural and peri-urban communities in a district close to Accra, Ghana’s capital.

Methods – Qualitative data was gathered for this comparative ethnographic study over seven months, (June, 2011-January, 2012) using an average of 43 (bi-weekly) participant observation per community and 56 in-depth interviews. Detailed observational data from study communities were triangulated with multiple interview material and contextual knowledge on social structures, history of settlement, land use, livelihoods, and access to and perceptions about sanitation.

Results – This study shows that the history of settlement and land ownership issues are highly correlated with people’s willingness and ability to invest in household sanitation across all communities. The status of being a stranger i.e. migrant in the area left some populations without rights over the land they occupied and with low incentives to invest in sanitation, while indigenous communities were challenged by the increasing appropriation of their land for commercial enterprises and for governmental development projects.

Interview responses suggest that increasing migrant population and the high demand for housing in the face of limited available space has resulted in general unwillingness and inability to establish private sanitation facilities in the communities. The increasing population has also created high demand for cheap accommodation, pushing tenants to accept informal tenancy agreements that provided for poor sanitation facilities.

In addition, poor knowledge of tenancy rights leaves tenants in no position to demand sanitation improvements and therefore landlords feel no obligation or motivation to provide and maintain domestic sanitation facilities.

Conclusions – The study states that poor land rights, the history of settlements, in-migration and insecure tenancy are key components that are associated with local livelihoods and investments in private sanitation in rapidly changing rural and peri-urban communities of Ghana. Sanitation policy makers and programme managers must acknowledge that these profound local, ethnic and economic forces are shaping people’s abilities and motivations for sanitation investments.

Monitoring Africa’s sanitation commitments

IRC helps AMCOW develop a new process to monitor the N’gor declaration

At the 2016 Africa Water Week, civil society called on the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) to honour the region’s commitments on water, sanitation and hygiene, including those agreed in the 2015 N’gor declaration. The four partner organisations in Watershed – empowering citizens, Akvo, IRC, Simavi and Wetlands International, were among those that endorsed the collective statement submitted to AMCOW by the African Network for Water (ANEW).

Progress especially on sanitation has so far been poor; only 4% between from 2000 to 2015, according to Al-hassan Adam from End Water Poverty. A recent IRC/WSUP finance brief stated that only eight African countries provide data on sanitation expenditure. All of them are falling behind on their N’gor declaration commitment to spend 0.5% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on sanitation. Exerting pressure to speed up progress on sanitation is an obvious task for those civil society organisations (CSOs) that Watershed aims to support.

Next to lobbying AMCOW to honour its sanitation commitments, IRC is also advising the ministerial council on the development of a new process to monitor the N’gor declaration. The aim of the new monitoring process is to create reflective dialogue processes at country and subregional levels and strengthen mechanisms for accountability to citizens and political leaders informed by evidence.

So far a Regional Action Plan has been developed, and indicators and scoring criteria have been reviewed through a series of sub-regional consultations led by AMCOW in Nairobi, Dakar and Johannesburg in May and June 2016. See below an example of an indicator with scoring criteria.

For more information, read the background paper prepared by Alana Potter.

Ngor indicator typology

This news item was originally published on the IRC website.

Enabling factors for the existence of waste pickers: A systematic review

Enabling factors for the existence of waste pickers: A systematic reviewSocial work (Stellenbosch. Online) vol.52 n.1 Stellenbosch 2016. Authors: Rinie Schenck; Derick Blaauw; Kotie Viljoen.

The paper reports on a systematic review research process to determine the enabling factors for waste pickers to operate in the informal economy in South Africa. Twenty-eight South African journal articles, theses and position and policy papers were sourced and appraised.

The results indicate that recognition of the waste pickers in the waste system is the most enabling factor for them to operate. The concept of recognition is analysed, described and explained as assisting waste pickers to become more visible, having a voice and to be validated.

Improving the quality of public toilet services in Kumasi

Improving the quality of public toilet services in Kumasi, 2016. Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor.

Public toilets are the leading form of sanitation in urban Ghana: in Kumasi, 700,000 people use one each day. This Note presents the activities of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to raise the standard of these services. PN027-126x188

To assist KMA in promoting greater private sector involvement, PPIAF commissioned the consultancy Ernst & Young (EY) to conduct a feasability study. The study recommended that toilets participating in the scheme be operated under a Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT) model, presented in Figure 2. Key features of the model are: 1) a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project Company would design, build, finance, operate and maintain the toilets for a 20-year concession period, after which the assets would be transferred back to KMA; 2) the Company would directly collect user fees and use it to cover their costs; 3) the Company would pay a monthly franchise fee to KMA, calculated as a percentage of revenue; 4) revenues 10% higher than assumptions made in the financial model would be paid to KMA; and 5) donor funding and cover to insure KMA’s termination guarantee may be sought.

There is a clear need for improved standards of public toilets in Kumasi. Progress has already been made, with training and improved monitoring impacting positively on the level of service. While rehabilitation and construction under the BOOT scheme will take time to complete, the resulting improvements should reduce waiting times for consumers, improve overall service quality and enhance financial viability.

KMA recognises that PLBs are not the long-term solution — a five-year compound sanitation strategy is being implemented in parallel, to achieve universal access to in-house sanitation in the long term — but the steps now being taken by KMA will ensure that public toilets provide the best possible service in the interim.

A tale of clean cities: Insights for planning urban sanitation from Kumasi, Ghana

A tale of clean cities: Insights for planning urban sanitation from Kumasi, Ghana, 2016. WaterAid.

Key learning points A-tale-of-clean-cities-143x203

  • Sanitation progress in Kumasi has been a long-term effort championed by a technically strong municipal Waste Management Department, supported by a wide range of development partners.
  • Despite some political consensus around the importance of sanitation, and partly due to inadequacy of monitoring systems, financial support has remained low, limiting progress.
  • Open defecation has been almost eliminated through the expansion of public toilets, prioritised at the expense of private toilets because of housing constraints.
  • Enabling policies catalysed private sector investment, improving management of public toilets and service levels across the sanitation service chain.
  • Disparities remain in terms of reach and quality of these services, which are poor in low-income areas.
  • Sanitation planning exercises helped forge a shared vision on how to advance towards sustainable service delivery.
  • The quality of these ‘learning by doing’ planning processes was more influential than were the resulting plans.

Refreshing Africa’s future: prospects for achieving universal WASH access by 2030

Refreshing Africa’s future: prospects for achieving universal WASH access by 2030, 2016. Authors: A. Markle; Z. Donnenfeld. Institute for Security Studies.

Access to water, sanitation and hygiene is indispensable to development, but what will it take for Africa to achieve universal access in 15 years? This paper uses the International Futures forecasting system to explore Sustainable Development Goal 6, which promises water, sanitation and hygiene to all by 2030.

It finds that Africa is not on track to meet this goal. In response, it uses two alternative scenarios to assess the costs and benefits associated with accelerating access. The first models an aggressive push toward universal access and the second a more moderate approach that advances access to water, sanitation and hygiene based on countries’ 2015 baselines.