MUST in the Lead Towards Revolutionizing Urban Sanitation

The CityWide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) model is reshaping urban sanitation strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Led by Dr. Joy Riungu, Director of the Sanitation Research Institute at Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST), in collaboration with the Uganda National Water Corporation and the African Water and Sanitation Association (AfWASA), a 3-day sanitation stakeholder workshop was successfully held. The workshop aimed to enhance the capabilities of sanitation operators in executing the CityWide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) program. It was supported by AfWASA, through its project, ‘Strengthening (AfWASA) and Operators Capacity for implementation of CWIS in Africa (SAO-CWIS)’, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The project aims to improve;

  1. AfWASA organizational effectiveness and;
  2. Enhance capacity of the operators to deliver CWIS through peer-exchange, training, networking and advocacy in order to provide safe sanitation to over ten million people in 51 cities in Sub Saharan Africa. It is part of AfWASA mission of fast-tracking delivery of safe and sustainable sanitation among African Nations.

Equitable, safely managed sanitation is core for economic development, with its implementation supporting achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” However, in the recent past, urban population growth dramatically outpaces gains in access to safe sanitation and as such, as the world continues to urbanize, the challenges of sanitation have continued to grow, more so in Sub-Saharan African. In Kenya, sewerage Service is currently available to about 17% for the Kenyan Population spread across 26 counties. With the emerging challenges in sanitation service delivery it has been recognized that the traditional approach, where conventional sewerage and wastewater treatment were considered as the only solution, will not pave way to universal safely managed sanitation.

Recent developments have seen the birth of the Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) model, that seeks to shift the urban sanitation paradigm. CWIS is a public service approach to planning and implementing urban sanitation systems that facilitates the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 outcomes: Safe, equitable, and sustainable sanitation for everyone in an urban area, paying special attention to the needs of the poor, the marginalized, and women and girls. It aims to ensure everyone has access to safely managed sanitation, with key focus being on enhancing service provision and its enabling environment. Being an emerging sanitation service delivery approach, capacity building among sanitation stakeholders is critical to facilitate understanding of the CWIS approach and lay the foundations for a reflection on the possibilities of implementation.

Kenya, being a beneficiary of AfWASA’s SAO-CWIS project had 20 sanitation operators trained on implementation of CWIS within their Cities of jurisdiction. Key outcomes of the three-day workshops were:


  1. Clear understanding of the CWIS approach (outcomes and underlying functions) using a common language for CWIS.
  2. Identification of key resources, tools, and approaches to start or strengthen their efforts towards implementation of CWIS.
  3. Preparation of an action plan seeking to strengthen their efforts towards achieving their targets for SGD 6.
  4. Identified context specific support that they needed from the SAO-CWIS program


Subsequent to the training, and supported by AfWASA, will be sanitation baseline studies in the participating Cities, and thereafter a bench marking visit in an African City which has had successful implementation of CWIS. It is hoped that successful implementation of CWIS in participating Cities will provide a platform in which other Cities, Towns and Counties in Kenya, and Africa can learn.

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