Updated Jan 15, 2021

Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP)

https://www.wsup.com/

Steve Metcalfe

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Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor is a not-for-profit company that helps transform cities to benefit the millions who lack access to water and sanitation.

We were created in 2005 as a response to the urban explosion that has left many cities unable to provide basic services, such as access to a toilet or drinking water, to low-income communities. We work alongside local providers, enabling them to develop services, build infrastructure and attract funding so that they can reach low-income communities. To ensure that services can reach as ma...
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We were created in 2005 as a response to the urban explosion that has left many cities unable to provide basic services, such as access to a toilet or drinking water, to low-income communities. We work alongside local providers, enabling them to develop services, build infrastructure and attract funding so that they can reach low-income communities. To ensure that services can reach as many people as possible, and will exist over the long-term, we have a strong focus on financial viability. This means working with utilities and businesses to build services which generate revenue whilst reaching the most vulnerable urban residents, and advising regulators and governments on how to create an environment which enables businesses to succeed. Our work creates change in three mutually reinforcing ways: 1. Establishing effective policies and regulations to incentivise action and provide the right environment for the private sector. 2. Enhancing skills and capacity to create stronger public and private sector service providers and more effective government. 3. Improving investment in WASH through investment plans, financial management and targeted investment from international financial institutions.
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Stage 6: Sustained Scale

Focus Areas:

Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Water Management, Water Supply/Quality and 1 MoreSEE ALL

Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Water Management, Water Supply/Quality and SanitationSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Zambia, Mozambique, Bangladesh and 4 MoreSEE ALL

Zambia, Mozambique, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Kenya, Ghana and UgandaSEE LESS

22,000,000
Lives Impacted to Date
7
Countries Implemented In
Verified Funding
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Problem

Nearly 900 million city-dwellers worldwide lack access to safe water or sanitation. By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas, with 90% of urban growth expected to take place in developing regions. As informal settlements on the edge of towns and cities in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia grow, so does the number of people lacking access to water and sanitation. This has severe impacts on the environment, health, livelihoods and economic growth.

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Solution

We work alongside local governments and service providers, enabling them to develop services, build infrastructure and attract investment to reach low-income areas. To ensure services can sustainably reach as many people as possible we focus on financial viability. This means working with utilities and businesses on services that generate revenue whilst reaching vulnerable urban residents and advising regulators and governments on how to create an environment in which businesses can thrive.

Target Beneficiaries

WSUP works in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia: Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia. Our work targets the poorest urban residents, who live in extreme poverty without access to even the most basic water, sanitation and hygiene required for a healthy, dignified life. Since inception we have directly and indirectly helped over 22 million people access improved water, sanitation and hygiene services.

Mission and Vision

WSUP’s driving vision is to create a world in which all urban residents, including the poorest, informal settlement dwellers, and women and girls, enjoy affordable, safe water and sanitation services of a high standard. Creating a world with universal water and sanitation coverage in urban areas requires change at a system level: improving the way that parts of the city work so that those responsible for delivering services are able to do so.

Competitive Advantage

Since its inception, WSUP has been solving challenges in a different way. Traditional approaches to providing water and sanitation services for the urban poor have tended to be implemented on a piecemeal, project-by-project basis without a link to formal service providers. This compromises sustainability and gives few opportunities to innovate, test new technologies and develop new business models that can operate at city-wide scale. As a bridge between the private, non-profit and research sectors, WSUP brings the best of these three worlds to developing rigorous, financially viable and inclusive approaches to urban water and sanitation. By focusing on strengthening institutions and building functioning city-level systems, our work is better able to drive towards universal access to water and sanitation services in urban areas.

The Team Behind the Innovation

Our team’s breadth of experience in the private, public and academic sectors has been instrumental in our success. Supported by an office in the UK, WSUP’s staff work in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. By building teams of locally recruited staff ensures we can leverage understanding of the local context and existing long-term relationships. This allows WSUP to develop expertise in the communities in which we work, building capacity that increases impact across our projects.

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Jan 2007
New Country Implemented In
Mozambique
Apr 2005
New Country Implemented In
Zambia
Mar 2005
Created