Incentivising private sector provision of faecal waste emptying services to low-income customers in Kisumu

Project Duration October 2018 - October 2019 Category: Sanitation businesses and market development Country: Kenya Delivered by: Aquaya
Themes: Faecal sludge management Market development Research Sanitation Urban Sanitation Research Initiative


To identify and initiate policy measures which encourage the private sector to target low-income urban customers for the provision of faecal waste emptying services, resulting in enhanced private sector engagement and improved levels of sanitation access for low-income urban residents.


  • Promoting safe pit-emptying services in urban, low-income areas is required to achieve universal access to safely-managed sanitation.
  • We compared the performance of three different groups in coordinating safe emptying services in the city of Kisumu, Kenya: the Association of Wastewater Managers, a formal manual emptying organization, and a community-based water supplier.
  • The Association of Wastewater Managers performed the best at coordinating emptying services, as indicated by the number emptying jobs, financial viability, and customer satisfaction.
  • Productive collaborations between VTOs and formal manual emptying organizations are a useful model for improving pro-poor service delivery.
  • However, safe emptying services are often unaffordable, and will likely require subsidies and political action to service low-income areas.

Next steps

Future interventions need to address the price barrier between formal (safe) and informal (unsafe) faecal sludge emptying. The Aquaya Institute are currently conducting a randomised, real-money demand trial in Kisumu to quantify the gap between existing prices and consumer willingness-to-pay for safe pit emptying services.

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