• Most of Nairobi’s urban poor cannot afford the initial US$100 required for piped water connection.
• A social connections program allows households to access micro-credit for water connection, and to repay the loan in installments together with the monthly water bill.
• Kenya’s new constitutional right to water and sanitation obliges service providers to focus on underserved communities. Kayole Soweto village in the outskirts of Nairobi is home to 90,000 residents. The village is among scores of informal settlements inhabited by almost two-thirds of the city’s four million people. Like other lowincome settlements in Nairobi, Kayole Soweto village is sparsely served by piped water network.
A pilot social connections program with an innovative micro-financing model could hold the solution for improving access to affordable drinking water and sewerage services for low-income, underserved areas in Kenyan towns and cities, such as Kayole Soweto. Most residents are willing to pay for improved water supply, but cannot afford the lump sum KSh8,125 (US$100) fee required by the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) to install metered water connection in individual houses. The connection fee includes a non-refundable commitment fee, deposit for water meter, and costs of piping and fittings.