Taking water, sanitation and hygiene out of the silo: new report builds the case for integrated urban development

Themes: Business Plan Sanitation Utilities WASH Water
Countries: Ghana Ghana-local Kenya Kenya-local Madagascar Madagascar-local Mozambique Mozambique-local

Water, sanitation and hygiene improvements need to be integrated into wider urban development initiatives to have maximum reach and impact, according to a new report published by WSUP and Arquitectura sin Fronteras.

Drawing on evidence from cities such as Maputo, Accra, Nairobi and Antananarivo, the report, entitled Integrated Slum Upgrading: how can we link water and sanitation improvements with wider urban development? finds that a more coordinated approach to delivery of services can make a big difference to the overall impact for residents.

Download the report

At the centre of the report is analysis of work conducted by Arquitectura sin Fronteras and WSUP to develop an integrated land rights and sanitation programme in Maputo, Mozambique. The ongoing project, taking place in the Chamanculo C community, has combined a process of improving land rights, street widening and plot boundary clarifications, with a programme of introducing high-quality shared sanitation facilities.

Before and after images of the ongoing work in Maputo

The integration of the two activities resulted in a more considered approach to improvements to communities, for example, making it easier to find suitable locations for sanitation facilities, and ensuring that facilities are constructed in locations which allow vehicle access for septic tank emptying. The process of offering sanitation facilities in turn helped to ease the complex community negotiations needed to agree, and sometimes change, plot boundaries.

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The report finds that:

  1. Integrated slum upgrading is the future, and organisations involved in water and sanitation need to partner with civil society organisations to ensure that WASH developments happen in tandem with progress in other areas.
  2. The process of improving land tenure, plot boundaries and road access makes it much easier to improve water and sanitation services in informal urban settlements.
  3. Water and sanitation organisations need to get out of the WASH silo, and make more efforts to engage with organisations working across urban development.
  4. Funding streams which enable water and sanitation organisations to partner with organisations operating in other areas of urban development are needed, to help drive a more integrated approach to improving some of the world’s poorest urban communities.

The report also features work taking place in Nairobi, Kenya and how WASH services are being integrated into the country’s largest slum upgrading project, the Mukuru Special Planning Area; and work taking place in Antananarivo, Madagascar, to link water supply and improvements to drainage and solid waste management.

Resident outside a WASH block in Nairobi

Integrating water, sanitation and hygiene services within wider urban development is a key priority in WSUP’s new Business Plan, and represents an important step-change in increasing the impact of our work and bringing greater benefits to under-served urban residents.

Read our Business Plan now

Download: Integrated Slum Upgrading: how can we link water and sanitation improvements with wider urban development?

Top image: Beira resident cleans hands in makeshift sink. Credit: Stand Up Media