Uncontrolled urbanisation and proliferation of slums makes development of urban sanitation a big challenge. To contribute to the efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of universal access to sanitation, the research A tale of clean cities aimed to learn from three cities that are performing well in sanitation: Kumasi, Ghana; San Fernando, the Philippines; and Visakhapatnam, India.
The provision of safely managed sanitation in informal settlements is a challenge, especially in schools that require durable, clean, sex-segregated facilities for a large number of children. In informal settlements in Nairobi, school sanitation facilities demand considerable capital costs, yet are prone to breakage and often unhygienic. The private sector may be able to provide quality facilities and services to schools at lower costs as an alternative to the sanitation that is traditionally provided by the government.
Human beings are now largely an urban species: for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population (54%, or 3.9 billion people) lives in towns, cities and megacities. By 2050, that’s expected to rise to two-thirds. Many new urbanites, and particularly the poorest, are not moving into gleaming apartment blocks or regenerated post-industrial areas. They are arriving – or being born into – overcrowded, rapidly expanding slums. Economic growth is usually driven by urbanisation, and all industrialised countries already have a mostly urban population.
It is widely perceived that city-wide sanitation planning can enable coordinated improvements in efforts to achieve universal access to sustainable sanitation services in urban contexts in developing countries. However, it has been observed that city sanitation planning is not always effective and does not always lead to (in part or in full) sustainable and equitable outcomes. Indeed the planning process may or may not result in, or inform, implementation. This observation resonates with existing reviews and critiques of sanitation planning over the past decades (Kennedy-Walker et al.
Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) has been proved to be a successful strategy for tackling the challenge of open defecation in poor rural communities across Africa and Asia. This article explores whether a similar approach can be used in peri-urban and urban areas to help co-produce sanitation facilities and services with inputs from communities, duty bearers, and other sanitation stakeholders. It is argued that an urban CLTS approach does not mean a copy and paste of tools and methods which have proved successful in the rural environment but following a set of similar principles.
Between 2010 and 2016, Plan Netherlands implemented a CLTS programme in 8 countries in Africa: Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Niger. This programme, although entitled ‘Empowering self-help sanitation of rural and peri-urban communities and schools in Africa’ soon became known as the Pan Africa Programme.