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Up-scaling Basic Sanitation for the Urban Poor in Kenya



Kenya, like other African countries is experiencing rapid urbanisation rates estimated currently to be 5% per annum.

Over 50% of the urban poor households do not have access to improved sanitation. Efforts to increase access and coverage to improved sanitation for the low income urban areas in Kenya, (where about 8 million people live in Low Income Areas

1) do not march the increasing need. This has resulted in the marginalisation of the urban poor, particularly in sanitation provision.

Current sanitation situation According to a desk study carried out by the Water and Sanitation Program, it is estimated that poor sanitation costs Kenya 27 billion shillings each year, equivalent to US$324 million


2. This sum is the equivalent of US$8 per person per year in Kenya or 0.9% of the national GDP (WSP, 2012). The breakdown of sanitation situations in Kenya in terms of populations is as follows:

Sanitation challenges in Kenya

Up until recently, the focus of the water and sanitation sector was predominantly geared towards water provision, thus creating a deficit for improving sanitation and hygiene services. The little resources allocated to sanitation were basically used for awareness creation andhygiene education leaving the development of sanitation infrastructure lagging behind. Currently approximately 12.5 million Kenyans live in urban areas

3. Only 19% of this urban population is connected to a sewer. The treatment facilities on the other end of the sewer lines operate at a 20% efficiency, leaving most of the sewage untreated. As in manyother developing countries, the rate of urbanisation in Kenya is on the rise. More people are moving towards the urban centres of the country. As a result, the Low Income Areas (LIAs) in Kenya are expanding rapidly and space for sanitation development is getting scarce.

This, in combination with lack of low cost, adaptable options available and non-regulation for (onsite) sanitation facilities, has hampered the development of sanitation infrastructure in LIAs.

The water and sanitation coverage in Low Income Areas in Kenya depends on the characteristics of the area.

Areas with little or no temporary structures have a better coverage than areas with a high temporary structure rate.

As is depicted in the graph below, it can be seen that sanitation coverage is lagging behind water coverage in the LIAs with predominantly temporary structures. In LIAs with more permanent structures, the sanitation coverage is higher than the water coverage

4. Status of sanitation developments in KenyaMany sanitation stakeholders have embarked on efforts to improve sanitation situation in Kenya. These stakeholders include government ministries, national corporations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI) has put in place the necessary policy, legal and institutional frameworks to improve the current sanitation situation under the water sector reforms which was initiated in 2003

5. The newly adopted Kenya Constitution has spelled out sanitation to be a human right and MWI has drafted a new water policy and bill to align itself to the new constitution. In addition, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation through the Water Services Trust Fund(WSTF), has developed a national sanitation concept for up-scaling public sanitation. A national concept for up scaling of household/plot level sanitation is currently in development. The final strategy for the up-scaling concept which will include national design standards will be developed within the framework of the UBSUP programme.

Up-Scaling Basic Sanitation for the Urban Poor in Kenya-UBSUP-KenyaUp-scaling Basic Sanitation for the Urban Poor in Kenya, UBSUP-Kenya, is a 5 year programme which is implemented by WSTF with support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)The programme is financially supported by KfW (German Financial Cooperation) and the Bill and the Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and in kind by GIZ. Implementation is to be done through the Water Services Providers (WSPs) using the Urban Project Cycle window (UPC). The programme shall benefit from the extensive experiences made by the WSTF in using UPC in implementing public sanitation.

The UBSUP programme aims at improving the livingconditions of the urban poor in Kenya, through enhanced access to basic sanitation, safe water and sound hygiene practices. It targets the population’s urban low income settlements. It is supposed to reach 800,000 people with improved sanitation and up to 200,000 people with improved access to water service provision. This will be achieved by developing, testing and implementing innovative technologies and concepts for onsite sanitation systems. The onsite sanitation systems will have a strong focus on sustainable faecal sludge management.

The main phases of the project are:

• Concept development and preparation study;

• Preparation of the UPC plot & household level sanitation concept and tools;

• Preparation and implementation of the plot & household level sanitation pilot projects;

• Finalizing the sanitation concept and toolkit for urban sanitation projects;

• Implementation and up scaling phase. The programme will be firmly anchored into sector policies, institutions and procedures. This will ensure sustainability of the up-scaling approach as the concept will be available for duplication after the main phases of the project are completed.

For further information on UBSUP, please visit the

UBSUP Kenya website: www.ubsup.go.ke/.

For information on water and sanitation coverage in Kenya, please visit the Maji Data website: www.majidata.go.ke/.




Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene March-April 2017 Vol.12 No.2