Tag Archives: urban sanitation

Access to Improved Sanitation in Informal Settlements: The Case of Dar es Salaam City, Tanzania

Access to Improved Sanitation in Informal Settlements: The Case of Dar es Salaam City, TanzaniaCurrent Urban Studies, Mar. 2016.

Authors: Samson Elisha Kasala, Marco Mathias Burra, Tumpale Sakijege Mwankenja

Based on the current study, this paper attempts to examine how and the extent to which residents in these informal settlements get access to improved sanitation. The paper also draws lessons to inform the way forward.

The findings show that community based initiatives, partnerships and law enforcement are instrumental in improving access to sanitation in informal settlements.

Improving health in cities through systems approaches for urban water management

Improving health in cities through systems approaches for urban water management. Env Health, Mar. 2016.

Authors: L. C. Rietveld, J. G. Siri, et al.

As human populations become more and more urban, decision-makers at all levels face new challenges related to both the scale of service provision and the increasing complexity of cities and the networks that connect them. These challenges may take on unique aspects in cities with different cultures, political and institutional frameworks, and at different levels of development, but they frequently have in common an origin in the interaction of human and environmental systems and the feedback relationships that govern their dynamic evolution.

Accordingly, systems approaches are becoming recognized as critical to understanding and addressing such complex problems, including those related to human health and wellbeing. Management of water resources in and for cities is one area where such approaches hold real promise.

Urban sanitation: a quest for the silver bullet

2015 and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are behind us. The new global goals for sustainable development are expected to inspire and create a new determination for all of us. What has IRC learned during 2015 and how are we moving ahead in 2016? 

Blog by Erick Baetings, Senior sanitation specialist, IRC

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Haiphong City, Viet Nam. Photo: Erick Baetings, IRC

Although a lot has been achieved the world has fallen short on the MDG sanitation target, leaving 2.4 billion people without access to improved sanitation facilities. Globally, it is estimated that 82 per cent of the urban population now use improved sanitation facilities, compared with 51 per cent of the rural population.

What is the case for urban sanitation?

Urban growth

Rapid urbanisation in many parts of the developing world is putting increasing strain on the ability of municipalities to deliver critical services, such as water and sanitation. More than half the world’s population (54 per cent) live in urban areas. Urbanisation combined with the overall growth of the world’s population is projected to add another 2.5 billion people to the urban populations by 2050, with close to 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. As a result, many developing countries will face numerous challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations. In a number of regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, population growth has already outpaced gains in sanitation coverage in urban areas.

Inclusion and equality

Inclusive and equitable access to improved sanitation facilities is still far away. Inequalities between richest and poorest 20 per cent of the population are found in all regions but may vary according to the type and level of service. Inequalities hinder efforts to reduce poverty and to stimulate economic growth, resulting in a negative impact on society as a whole. Therefore, ideally, more should be done for the poor than the rich, allowing the gap to narrow and ultimately disappear over time.

Moving beyond toilets and containment

Access to improved sanitation facilities does not necessarily translate into environmentally safe practices as even appropriately captured human waste is often improperly stored, transported, or disposed. To date, global monitoring has focused primarily on the containment of human excreta, where a sanitation facility is considered to be improved if it hygienically separates human excreta from human contact. This is now considered to be grossly inadequate as it does not address the subsequent management of faecal waste along the entire sanitation service chain, from containment through emptying, transport, treatment, and reuse or disposal. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) states that over 2 billion people in urban areas use toilets connected to onsite septic tanks or latrine pits that are not safely emptied or that discharge raw sewage into open drains or surface waters.

The challenge is to keep up with the growing urban population, to ensure equitable access to improved sanitation services, and to address the entire sanitation service chain.

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IIED – Building towards a future in which urban sanitation “leaves no one behind”

Building towards a future in which urban sanitation “leaves no one behind,” 2015. Diana Mitlin, IIED.

Full text

Plans to improve access to sanitation in towns and cities of the global South are hampered by multiple challenges. One is a lack of reliable information. In particular, global and national-level data often diverge from data on particular settlements, collected by inhabitants of those settlements themselves. Local data highlight the inadequacy of living conditions – and in so doing evidence the difficulties in securing improvements. Another challenge lies in the setting of standards around acceptable sanitation. At a global level, for instance, shared sanitation is not considered part of “improved” sanitation. Yet the reality for many low-income urban populations is that communal sanitation can be hygienic, cost-effective and locally acceptable.

The difficulties in reaching a consensus around data and standards point to the importance of diverse approaches to increasing and improving sanitation, including considering both on-site and off-site solutions.

They also highlight how crucial it is for the planning and implementation of all such solutions to be inclusive of those often missing from global debates, such as the low-income urban groups that cannot afford substantial sanitation spending. Financial and political commitments, drawing on the circumstances and approaches articulated by low-income groups themselves, will be key to securing a future in which everyone has access to the sanitation they need.

USAID/West Africa Sanitation Service Delivery – Making Kumasi a Cleaner City

Making Kumasi a Cleaner City, Sept 2015. Source: PSI Impact |

Sanitation Service Delivery (SSD) is a USAID/West Africa regional urban sanitation project that is implemented by PSI in collaboration with PATH and Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP). The project aims to improve sanitation outcomes by developing and testing scalable business models that engage private sector service providers and by contributing to the creation of a strong enabling environment for sanitation in West Africa. WSUP plays a vital role in supporting government partnership efforts to strengthen public support for improved sanitation and fecal sludge management (FSM) services in Ghana — an important aspect of the SSD. 

Photo Credit: Dana Ward

Photo Credit: Dana Ward

Highlighting the important role governments will play in this endeavor, Dana Ward, PSI country representative in Ghana and chief of party for Sanitation Service Delivery (SSD) Project in Ghana, Benin, and Cote d’Ivore caught up with Anthony Mensah, director, Waste Management Department Kumasi Metropolitan Authority (KMA), about the city’s strategy to make Kumasi among the five cleanest cities in Africa.

In this Q&A, Anthony Mensah responds to questions on successes and challenges of the Kumasi program. Read the complete article.

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).

See www.wsup.com/programme/resources/

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.

Introduction to the Treatment of Urban Sewage – free online course

TU Delft offers a free 7 week online introductory course on urban sewage treatment starting in April 2016.

The course consists of 6 modules:

  1. Sewage treatment plant overview
  2. Primary treatment
  3. Biological treatment
  4. Activated sludge process
  5. Nitrogen and phosphorus removal
  6. Sludge treatment

The instructors are Prof. Jules van Lier, Environmental Engineering and Wastewater Treatment, and wastewater Assistant Prof. Merle de Kreuk.

View the course introduction video

Introduction to the Treatment of Urban Sewage is part of TU Delft Water Management XSeries on edX.

For $50 participants can get a Verified Certificate for the course.