The path to citywide inclusive sanitation in Malindi

Themes: Faecal sludge management Sanitation Utilities
Countries: Kenya Kenya-local

By Lilian Omoga

Through Malindi Water and Sewerage Company (MAWASCO), Malindi County in Kenya is making significant progress towards achieving universal sanitation for its residents. This ambitious goal is being tackled through a pioneering Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) initiative supported by Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP).

WSUP’s crucial role in Malindi’s CWIS involves creating an enabling environment through policy development, enhancing technical capacity, and strengthening financial resources. However, what truly sets this initiative apart are the innovative solutions it brings to the table. WSUP’s recent partnership with SATO (Lixil) Kenya in Malindi aims to overcome market constraints and implement effective sanitation solutions, increasing infrastructure to complete two faecal sludge treatment plants. These innovative solutions are not only intriguing but also hold the potential to revolutionize the sanitation sector.

The development of Malindi’s CWIS plan was a collaborative effort, with active participation from various stakeholders. In February 2023, UN-Habitat provided training for key members, while WSUP facilitated the recent 4th Technical Working Group meeting, comprising partners from diverse sectors. This collaborative approach was instrumental in developing a robust integrated sanitation plan and a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework to track progress and ensure accountability. A participant noted, “Bringing together experts from health, infrastructure, the private sector, and community organizations not only allows for diverse perspectives but also ensures that the actions respond to community needs, making each stakeholder’s contribution invaluable.”

The CWIS approach recognizes the varied needs of urban residents. Unlike traditional one-size-fits-all solutions, CWIS offers a range of tailored options, including on-site sanitation systems, sewers, and centralized and decentralized facilities, ensuring inclusivity for all.

Beyond sanitation improvements, the CWIS plan integrates strategies that align with Malindi’s broader development goals. This collaborative effort aims to enhance public health, protect the environment, and stimulate economic growth.

Malindi’s CWIS success is a blueprint for other cities facing similar sanitation challenges. It highlights the effectiveness of collaborative and innovative solutions that ensure no one is left behind.

Approximately KES 900 million ($7.3 million) is needed to achieve the CWIS targets by 2025. Key investment priorities include constructing 5,000 improved toilets, scaling up emptying and transport services with at least six exhauster trucks, enabling the emptying of 90 pit latrines per month, and managing new waste-to-value faecal sludge treatment plants. Additionally, there is a need for further institutional support, including continued policy development, implementing a new sanitation development fee, and increasing capacity building among stakeholders.

Malindi’s CWIS initiative, supported by WSUP, is a beacon of hope for achieving universal sanitation in urban Africa. The lessons learned here have the potential to transform sanitation practices across the continent, ensuring a healthier and more sustainable future.