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Up-scaling Basic Sanitation for the Urban Poor (UBSUP) in Kenya

2011 - 2018 • Water Sector Trust Fund (WSTF)


To improve the living conditions of the urban poor by offering access to sustainable plot level sanitation and safely managed sludge treatment options for up to 400,000 residents of urban low income areas in Kenya.


The UBSUP programme is implemented by the Water Sector Trust Fund (WSTF), which is a Kenyan state corporation mandated to finance water and sanitation services for the poor and under-served communities. UBSUP covers the entire sanitation service chain from toilet to treatment and is carried out on the grounds through the licensed water service providers (water utilities). The UBSUP approach is based on 3 key pillars: technology, social marketing, and business & financing. It comprises the following steps:

1. Creating demand: the WSTF launches a call for proposals and the water utilities apply for funding. A comprehensive social marketing / branding concept helps the water utilities create demand in their area for household toilets.

2. Promoting toilet construction: households choose from different standardised toilet options. The toilet owner receive a financial incentive covering part of the investment cost, after the toilet has been built according to standards.

3. Partnering with private sector: private vacuum tankers are registered with the water utilities to provide the collection and transport services. Business opportunities arise from the newly constructed toilets.

4. Setting up a decentralised treatment system: in case the town is not equipped with a treatment facility, UBSUP supports the construction of a Decentralised Treatment Facility (DTF) , which provides physical and biological treatment (no electricity or chemical additive) and can receive up to 22m3 of faecal sludge daily.

5. Monitoring and evaluation: tailor-made information systems and processes allow the WSTF and other stakeholders to prioritise, implement and monitor their interventions in order to improve access to sanitation.


Image: UBSUP toilet beneficiary in Chuka © Berea production - GIZ/WSTF

Countries of activity

Location of main activity


1. Provide sustainable sanitation for over 400,000 people in the urban low income-areas in Kenya

2. Track access to sanitation for urban low income area dwellers through a monitoring system and make that information accessible to the public (i.e. an online database).

3. Enable sector institutions, civil society organisations and small-scale private entrepreneurs to actively participate in the provision of basic sanitation to the urban low income areas and cooperate with research institutes to improve sanitation options.

4. Ensure sustainable use of facilities and further development of the sub-sector through a sanitation up-scaling concept in line with the sector reforms.

Further information

The WSTF is being supported by GIZ.


Video about UBSUP project on Nov 22, 2017

Contact information

Charles Kanyugo
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Ruth Nganga
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Stella Warue
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Filter tags

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Capacity development Cities Composting, vermicomposting (solid waste), composting toilets Constructed wetlands Decentralised wastewater treatment (e.g. DEWATS) Emptying and transport (non sewered) Enabling environment and institutional strengthening Faecal sludge treatment processes Faeces or faecal sludge Fertiliser Government-owned entity (not university or research) Market development Multi-lateral and International Monetary Fund Operation, maintenance and sustainable services Peri-urban Political processes and institutional aspects Practitioners Public awareness, advocacy and civil society engagement Resource recovery Specific to one or several countries Sub-Saharan Africa Technology comparisons Toilets or urinals (user interface) Treatment of faecal sludge Treatment of wastewater or greywater Urban informal settlements (slums) Urine Urine diversion dehydration toilets (UDDTs)

Attached files

UBSUP brochure

Format: pdf file
Size: 1.02 MB

FSM Kenyan case study

Format: pdf file
Size: 1.43 MB


Water Sector Trust Fund

Water Sector Trust Fund (WSTF) is a Kenyan Institution established under the Water Act of 2002 with a mandate to assist in financing the provision of water services to areas of Kenya which are without adequate services. WSTF operates under the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. In the Water Act 2016, The Mandate of the Fund is to provide conditional and unconditional grants to the Counties and to assist in financing the water and sanitation services in the marginalised and under-served areas including: a) Community level initiatives for the sustainable management of water resources b) Development of water services in rural areas considered not to be commercially viable for provision of water services by licensees; and c) Development of water and sanitation services in the under-served poor urban areas WSTF works with other sector institutions to facilitate implementing agents such as the County Water Utilities (both rural and urban) and Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs) to apply for financing, implement and sustainably manage their quality water and sanitation services through capacity building and stakeholder partnership. WSTF is funded by the Government of Kenya budgetary allocation and Development Partners.

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