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Opportunities and limits to market-driven sanitation services: evidence from urban informal settlements in East Africa


O'Keefe, Mark; Lüthi, Christoph; Tumwebaze, Innocent Kamara; Tobias, Robert (2015). Opportunities and limits to market-driven sanitation services: evidence from urban informal settlements in East Africa. Environment and Urbanization, 27(2):421-440.

Abstract

The improvement of sanitation conditions in slums(1) is difficult in part because of economic and institutional environments that often prevent private or public investment in infrastructure. This analysis of sanitation conditions in informal settlements in Nairobi and Kampala compares user practices. It also identifies the main actors involved in the provision of overlapping sanitation systems, involving a multitude of small-scale providers, along with the challenges these present. The paper goes on to describe a new market-based approach in Nairobi, developed by a social enterprise, Sanergy, which is responsible for the construction of facilities and the collection and treatment of wastes. The system improves user satisfaction, community wellbeing and environmental quality, pointing to a clear opportunity for such market-based interventions where a customer base already pays for sub-standard services. There remain challenges, however, around the ability to scale up and finance these providers, especially in complex operating environments that increase transactional costs for companies.

The improvement of sanitation conditions in slums(1) is difficult in part because of economic and institutional environments that often prevent private or public investment in infrastructure. This analysis of sanitation conditions in informal settlements in Nairobi and Kampala compares user practices. It also identifies the main actors involved in the provision of overlapping sanitation systems, involving a multitude of small-scale providers, along with the challenges these present. The paper goes on to describe a new market-based approach in Nairobi, developed by a social enterprise, Sanergy, which is responsible for the construction of facilities and the collection and treatment of wastes. The system improves user satisfaction, community wellbeing and environmental quality, pointing to a clear opportunity for such market-based interventions where a customer base already pays for sub-standard services. There remain challenges, however, around the ability to scale up and finance these providers, especially in complex operating environments that increase transactional costs for companies.

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3 citations in Web of Science®
5 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:5 October 2015
Deposited On:20 Nov 2015 16:18
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:33
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:0956-2478
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247815581758

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