Sanitation partnerships

Calls for partnerships to help those without proper access to sanitation are growing. Yet while we increasingly understand how partnerships for solid waste or drinking water can flourish, much less is known about how to bring about large-scale partnerships for sanitation.


Particularly crucial for sanitation partnerships is finding the correct balance between household and government responsibility.  Sanitation improvement can lead to health gains, but at a household level is more likely driven by a desire for dignity and comfort.  Matching these different incentives at various levels is not straightforward, posing new challenges even for experienced partnership practitioners.


Equally, debates about choice of technology, subsidy levels and institutional responsibility tend to be even more complex for sanitation than for water.


BPD has suggested that partnerships can play three distinct roles in sanitation: promoting local level sanitation improvements; linking these into wider waste management and environmental protection; and bringing together an often fragmented institutional field. 


Key BPD documents on sanitation partnerships

Partnerships for sanitation (overview paper) | full report

A review of the specific challenges of on-site sanitation and three distinct roles that partnerships can play.

Beyond storage

On-site sanitation is often the only feasible solution for poor urban communities. Yet that is only half the challenge; how do we make sure waste does not pollute the community, threatening both health and the environment? 

Landlord or tenant?

Selling sanitation to households is a promising solution, but many millions of urban dwellers only rent their property.  How do we deal with this widespread challenge?

To let or toilet? Is that the question?

More on the hidden challenges of selling sanitation in the context of rented accommodation.

Tenancy roundtable

Report from a roundtable of organisations that upgrade slums, sanitation specialists, partnership practitioners and rental experts.

Sanitation as a business

The discussion around ‘sanitation as a business’ is gaining considerable momentum. Yet the term is so broad that it is sometimes difficult to have conversations that actually contribute to greater understanding and learning across programmes. In this paper for BPD and SEI, David Schaub-Jones takes one aspect of the debate - emptying and transport - and uses this to highlight some of the issues and broader trends that affect the entire ‘urban sanitation market’.