In 2008 the East African Wildlife Society (EAWLS) and the Institute of Environment and Water (IEW) proposed a participatory research project to the IDRC as a contribution to the global initiative of providing 2.6 billion people with proper sanitation. The project commenced on the15th of October 2008.
In Kenya, the project was to be part of the integrated effort on Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor initiative (WSUP) being implemented in Naivasha Municipality while in Uganda, it was to be part of the integrated effort of UN-HABITAT under Lake Victoria Water And Sanitation (WATSAN) initiative in Masaka municipality. The project was supposed to provide gender and technical case scenarios in order to inform their programme designs and implementation on a continuous basis.
The project aim was to: study the situation of sanitation infrastructure in these towns, identify alternative sanitation technologies being used in different poverty strata, and assess gender needs and concerns in sanitation delivery and the relevance of national and local sanitation policies. This culminated in the modeling of the experiences and options that would in turn lead to testing and applying alternative designs, technologies and delivery mechanisms.
Lessons learnt from the tested models were used to inform the ongoing policy reforms in the two countries. It is expected that the findings will continue to shape the work of the development agencies by incorporating lessons learnt from the process.
Overall Objective of the Research:
The overall of objective of the research was to support development of a delivery mechanism for gender responsive water and sanitation services and appropriate regulatory frameworks for the urban poor in East Africa (Kenya and Uganda).
- To assess sanitation technologies from the perspective of gender, climatic conditions, hydrogeology and appropriateness with the view to accelerating improved access to water and sanitation particularly for the urban poor.
- To establish baseline information on gender and vulnerability and identify concerns & needs, in policies and programs with a view to improving equity in access to water and sanitation particularly for the urban poor.
- To build on lessons learnt, design and test appropriate & sustainable sanitation options for household, communities, schools and institutions for demonstration and going to scale.
- To synthesize lessons learnt from research and pilots into strategies to improve implementation of the existing WATSAN policy frameworks and program particularly for the urban poor.
Key issues addressed by the research were:
- Identifying challenges faced by the urban poor in accessing water and sanitation services while approaching this from a gender perspective,
- Assessing the state of WATSAN infrastructure and its ability to withstand environmental challenges such as heavy rains and geological formations.
- Identifying the impact of poor sanitation on the urban poor and the general environment.
- Assessing and integrating gender needs and considerations into the choice of sanitation infrastructure.
- Identifying Sanitation policy gaps at the national and local council levels.