An introduction to WSUP

“Richard [Sambrook] and I both felt the need to identify and test the best solutions for delivering water and sanitation services to the urban poor, and in creating WSUP we were able to convert that passion and those ideas into action.”

Jeremy Pelczer – Founder

Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) was the brainchild of Jeremy Pelczer, former CEO of Thames Water, and the late Richard Sandbrook, co-founder of Friends of the Earth.

In 2003, Thames Water, with the experience of its international operations, recognised that water utilities were not always best placed to meet the needs of the urban poor in emerging markets, and contracts did not always meet commercial criteria.
Richard, Jeremy, and others realised there was an opportunity to address this by bringing together the skills of the private sector, governments and NGOs. Nearly 60 organisations met to discuss the idea and to identify which were best placed to join Thames Water to develop its vision into reality.




Cities where we work


Supported utilities


Published reports

In 2005, seven organisations agreed to create WSUP as a not-for-profit company. The British government, through its Department for International Development (DFID) helped guide the concept and became one of our first funders.

WSUP was initially launched to support the needs of the urban poor in six core countries. As WSUP grew, we established local in-country teams led by a Country Programme Manager reporting to an International Programme Director. This structure has enabled efficient local implementation and connectivity with the in-country institutions mandated to deliver these services, and as a result a much better basis for effective sector change.


WSUP today

“Our multi-disciplinary approach is delivering systemic sustainable change to the lives of millions in countless communities in the countries in which we operate.”

Paul Boateng – Chair

WSUP is a non-profit business with long-term programmes in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Our work in these countries is led and delivered by teams of local experts, supported by a small global secretariat who provide technical and administrative help including fundraising, research, IT, financial management, and communications.

WSUP has evolved a small consultancy arm, known as WSUP Advisory, which undertakes commercial consultancy work globally. This draws on the insights gained in our core countries to offer technical assistance to governments, service providers, funders, and other stakeholders, and address the WASH needs of consumers. Lessons they learn during their consultancy assignments are fed back to WSUP to enrich our longer-term programmes. All the profits from WSUP Advisory go to support WSUP’s work.

The WSUP Charity (reg. charity no. 1170651) raises funds to deliver water, sanitation, and hygiene education to low-income, urban communities, enabling individuals across the world to support this important cause. Why not make a donation today?