(Cross-posted from SHARE Research website)
SHARE partners Shack/Slum Dwellers (SDI), together with their affiliates and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), have just published four policy briefs documenting the first year of the SHARE-funded City-Wide Sanitation Project.
The purpose of this research project is to develop inclusive, sustainable sanitation strategies. In practice this involves creating a scalable, bottom-up model for the development and realisation of pro-poor citywide sanitation, in which the residents of informal settlements engage with their local authority to identify new ways forward. The four cities where this model is being developed are Blantyre (Malawi), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Kitwe (Zambia), and Chinhoyi (Zimbabwe).
The first year was focused on data collection, including community mapping and profiling. Here are some of the findings:
• The study in the City of Blantyre found that 9 in 10 residents of information settlements use unimproved latrines, and that the majority of residents have experienced a collapse in these latrines during the rainy season. Most cannot afford the sanitary draining of latrines, opting instead to dig new pits every two years.
• In the City of Dar es Salaam, the study concluded that the sewerage system only reaches 10% of the urban population, while less than 10% of public funding for sanitation is directed towards onsite sanitation services, which the majority of the population relies on.
• In the City of Kitwe, the study found that over three quarters of households in informal settlements use traditional pit latrines, due in particular to the high cost of installing sanitation facilities.
• In the City of Chinhoyi, 70% of people in the profiled settlements rely on improvised water sources such as shallow wells and other unhygienic sources, which greatly affects their sanitation options. 82% of dwellings do not have regular rubbish collection.
In all three cities, the vital importance of the relationship between tenants and landlords was highlighted. Tenants make up the majority of households in informal settlements, and are therefore unlikely to invest in improved water and sanitation facilities. On the other hand, the incentives for landlords to make this important investment are not always evident.
The community-led approach to understanding the water and sanitation situation in these four cities has not only made residents and Federation leaders better informed, but it has also already greatly improved the relationship of these residents and Federation leaders with the City Councils. In Blantyre, for example, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the City Council, SDI partner CCODE and the Federation committing them to work together in the housing, water and sanitation sectors. The council has also set up the Informal Settlement Unit to work directly with the informal settlements in the city, demonstrating its commitment to scaling up action to address needs in these areas. In Kitwe, the City Council has agreed to establish a multi-stakeholder sub-committee on the upgrading on informal settlements, which will include SDI affiliate members along councillors and utility providers. In Chinhoyi, following an MoU in 2012, the communities of two of the profiled informal settlements – Mupata and Shackleton – have now begun to explore strategies for moving forward on the issues of sanitation in collaboration with the city authorities.
The project is now in its second year, where, building on firm knowledge of the situation in each locality and the stronger collaboration that the first year has enabled, precedents will be developed to exemplify new and effective sanitation solutions. The third and final year will be dedicated to planning to expand provision to those in the city without adequate sanitation. It is anticipated that this final year will develop a city-wide strategy for inclusive sanitation and include agreements with local government that can help provide the foundations for such a strategy.
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