Sanitation Learning Exchange Visit to Simplified and Decentralised Sanitation Systems in Tanzania


Group photo at Mabatini pilot project, Mwanza, Tanzania.

In early February, the Water, Sanitation & Energy (WSE) Consortium of the Mukuru SPA project in Nairobi, Kenya traveled to Tanzania for a learning exchange to visit simplified and decentralised sanitation systems. The Water Sanitation and Energy consortium is one of the eight consortia, contributing to the Mukuru integrated development plan and its implementation through the development of water, sanitation and energy sectorial plan.

In readiness for this phase, the consortium planned a learning exchange visit to learn from the experience of others who have solved similar challenges. The WSE identified Tanzania as a country that has achieved significant social indicators on access to hygiene and sanitation services. Together with the host facilitators: Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI), Mwanza Urban Water Sewerage Authority (MWAUSA), Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (DAWASA) and BORDA, the group held workshops and field visits. The learning exchange visit participants included representatives from: Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company (NCWSC), Nairobi City County Government (NCCG), Caritas Switzerland, Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT), Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and Sanergy.

Objectives for the learning exchange visit

The main purpose of this learning exchange visit was to:

  • increase learning and exposure on how sustainable decentralized sanitation systems have been operationalized by water utilities in informal settlements;
  • Increase the exposure of the team to sustainable sanitation options particularly decentralized sanitation systems in informal settlement;
  • learn about the successes and challenges of decentralized sanitation systems for informal settlements which will be instrumental as the WSE consortium develops the WSE sector plans for Mukuru informal settlement, Nairobi Kenya;

Field Visit to Vingunguti Simplified Sewerage System, Dar es Salaam  

The pilot project at Vingunguti was carried out by CCI & the Tanzania urban poor federation. CCI is a local based non-profit organization which supports urban poor communities with housing and shelter; community savings and credits and informal settlements upgrading. CCI has developed different approaches as interventions for the challenge of sanitation in urban areas, i.e. construction of simplified sewerage system and toilets for individual households.

Highlights of the visit:

  • The simplified sewerage system at Vingunguti is an alternative sanitation option in the informal settlement that collects all household wastewater in small diameter pipes laid at fairly flat gradients.
  • This system allows more flexible design and reduces construction and maintenance costs by up to 50% compared to a conventional system.
  • Community participation in the planning process of simplified sewerage system is a fundamental requirement to achieve higher household connection rates.
  • Meetings are carried out at the housing block level for information, discussions, and clarification required for a joint group decision on network design, community contributions during construction and maintenance responsibilities
  • Crucial to have management arrangements in place to remove blockages which are more frequent with convention sewers.
  • Simplified sewer diameters are 4inch, laid at a gradient of 1 in 200
  • Simple block or plastic chambers are used.
  • The main constrain for application is existing conservative design and construction standards linked to conventional systems.

Sanitation Workshop at Dar es Salaam Water & Sewerage Authority 

The Acting Director of Dar Es Salaam Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (DAWASA), Eng. Aaron, welcomed the participants and officially opened the workshop. The workshop main agenda was presentations from DAWASA, CCI, BORDA and WSE consortium. The presentations were followed by group discussions, questions, brainstorming and the way forward for each group present.

Highlights of the Workshop:

  • The purpose of visit by the WSE consortium, WSE consortium role in SPA and how the visit will help the consortium fulfil its mandate was discussed.
  • DAWASA shared successful approaches in provision of water and sanitation services through construction of off-grid water systems and simplified sewerage systems.
  • Discussions on how hygiene and sanitation has improved in the service areas
  • DAWASA decentralised wastewater treatment solution (DEWATS) pilot projects, the construction process, treatment process, maintenance process, community participation, and the challenges.
  • How to increase trust and create stronger relationship between public and private sector for improved sanitation services.
  • Learning about approaches to setting up transformative policy and legislation, formalizing institutional arrangements for strengthened delivery, and creating behavioural change among citizens with the involvement of the private sector.

BORDA & Mburahati site visit

BORDA welcomed the group at their office in Mikocheni, Dar Es Salaam. BORDA was founded in 1977 as non-for-profit organization in Bremen. Since 2001 BORDA exclusively facilitates a network of development cooperation that focus on providing basic need services (BNS) to disadvantaged segments of society.

BORDA is facilitating the BNS Network in Africa (Tanzania, Zambia, Lesotho, Mali and South Africa) and has played a big role in solving sanitation challenges in Tanzania through decentralized wastewater treatment system (DEWATS).

Highlights of BORDA visit:

  • DEWATS convey, treat and dispose or reuse wastewater from small communities, buildings, and dwellings in remote areas, individual, public, or private properties.
  • We learned that DEWATS protect public health and the natural environment by reducing  health and environmental hazards substantially.
  • Decentralization to the neighborhood level includes clusters of homes, gated communities, and small areas which are served by vacuum sewers.
  • DEWATS technology applies anaerobic treatment processes, including anaerobic baffled reactors and anaerobic filters, followed by aerobic treatment in ponds or  constructed wetlands.
  • DEWATS works without electric energy, is built using local materials, easy to operate and manage, water re-use and resource recovery e.g. biogas generation.


Group meeting with community members in Kilimahewa. 

Visit to Mwanza

The Mwanza Urban Water Sewerage Authority (MWAUWASA) team hosted the WSE consortium for the two days spent in Mwanza. The MD gave brief welcoming remarks and invited both teams from Kenya and MWAUWASA to share ideas around the ways that we can make our cities better in terms of improved water and sanitation services, mainly focusing on long term solutions.

MWAUWASA was established in July 1996 with legal mandate to supply portable water and sanitation services to Mwanza city. MWAUWASA has constructed two major simplified sewerage pilot projects in Kilimahewa and Mabatini area through support from government of Tanzania, UN-Habitat, and European investment bank. The two projects that started as pilot projects has now been scaled up to nine other on-going projects majorly funded by the Government of Tanzania and other donors.

Highlights of the visit:

  • The aim of the projects was to contribute to the reduction of pollution flowing into the lake by improving sustainable water supply and sanitation infrastructure in areas around the lake.
  • The densely populated informal settlements are built on granite rocks and steep slopes.
  • The sanitation program in Mwanza has provided many residents in informal settlements of Kilimahewa and Mabatini with access to sanitation through the simplified sewerage systems, as well as access to clean water
  • Before the interventions, sanitation in the areas was very poor. The residents couldn’t achieve enough depth for their latrines due to the rocky nature of the land.
  • The project has also significantly improved residents’ access to clean and safe water.
  • Noted; the aim of the project was to provide access to sanitation and clean water to the informal settlements, but it has also made accessibility of residents to their homes easier and better through the stairway up the rocky hills.
  • Community support, involvement and participation before, during and after implementation of the project, was key factor in implementation process.


The visit to simplified sanitation schemes in Dar Es Salaam and in Mwanza exposed WSE members to new and feasible options of sanitation and increased their knowledge on how wastewater can be sufficiently managed where conventional sewerage systems do not exist or are difficult to construct. Lessons learnt during the visit will contribute and advise the WSE consortium as they plan to develop the water and sanitation sector plans for Mukuru informal settlement. Lessons learnt on approaches used to promote community engagement, participation and empowerment for sustainability of these initiatives will also be considered and incorporated in the plan.

Citywide Profiling, Mapping, & Enumeration in Monrovia, Liberia


The Liberia slum dwellers federation (FOLUPS) and support NGO (YMCA) have made and impressive contribution to achieving the intended outcomes of the Cities Alliance-supported Liberia Country Program (LCP). Since 2016, they have organized slum dweller communities across Monrovia (reaching over 60 settlements); and undertaken a community-led city wide slum profiling and mapping effort (completing over 91 of Monrovia’s 113 settlements), completed a household enumeration in West Point, and organizing settlement forums for communities to verify their data and identify shared priorities for intervention. The federation will share its work with all LCP members at the upcoming city forum in April.



To date, the Liberia federation (FOLUPS) has profiled and mapped the following Local Government Areas (LGAs) within Greater Monrovia:

Congo Town LGA Profile (5 settlement profiles); Garwolohn LGA Profile (13 settlement profiles)

  • Monrovia City Profile (10 settlement profiles)
  • New Georgia LGA Profile (15 settlement profiles)
  • New Kru Town LGA Profile (22 settlement profiles)
  • Gardnersville LGA Profile (11 settlements)



Savings groups are the building blocks of all SDI federations. Federations throughout the network know that savings groups do more than collect money – they collect people and build a critical mass. When the savings groups are networked, federations are born. During phase one of this project, the Liberian federation, Liberian Urban Poor Savers (FOLUPS), has achieved:

  • 272 savings groups spanning 61 communities
  • 7,991 members (F: 6,979 M: 1,012)

As can be seen from the savings group data above, close to 90% of members are women. Throughout the SDI network, women’s membership and leadership are prioritized as a deliberate strategy for building the voice of women and nurturing a culture of dialogue, collective priority-setting, peer support, trust, and collaboration. Savings groups offer a safe space for women to learn and grow their leadership capacities and go on to combat the structural exclusion of women’s voices in urban governance. In Liberia, women federation members led clean-up exercises identified as priority action during the settlement forums. The women report that this federation effort increased compliance with community resolutions to improve environmental sanitation and the active participation of slum dwellers in the regular community meetings and clean-up exercises.

Once we realized most of the profilers, enumerators and forum facilitators were men, we made a special effort to increase the participation and leadership of women and youth through hands-on learning-by-doing, including setting benchmarks for female participation


An imminent threat of eviction led the federation to prioritize household enumeration of Monrovia’s oldest and largest informal settlement, West Point. Day in day out, the federation – dressed in bright red Know Your City bibs and gumboots – trekked from house to house administering the enumeration questionnaire and mobilizing federation members. Peers from other federations in the SDI network supported the Liberians in this effort as part of a learning-by-doing exchange. Snapshots from the enumeration report are shown below as well as additional research (Younghyun Kim 2017) on West Point’s risk profile undertaken in partnership with the federation using the enumeration data.


Day 2-3


Keep an eye out for the full Monrovia profile report and West Point Enumeration Report, due to be launched in the coming months.

2019 Community-Led Habitat Award for Africa: Call for Submissions

Screenshot 2019-02-04 at 13.39.39

We invite you to learn more about the 2019 Community-Led Habitat Award for Africa, an initiative of the CoHabitat Network, and submit your project today!

Deadline: 31 March 2019

In Africa, millions are faced with insecure and inadequate housing. But around the continent, there are inspiring examples of how communities are developing innovative and affordable housing solutions and upgrading their neighbourhoods sustainably.

The Community-Led Habitat Awards, an initiative of the CoHabitat Network, recognise inspiring community-driven habitat solutions from across the continent with the aim to advocate for the expansion of community-led urban development and housing.

Share your story to be part of a growing network of actors securing housing rights and implementing people-led habitat solutions.

Gain visibility and public exposure to advocate for the expansion of community-led housing.

Learn from your peers.

Participate in the World Habitat Awards.

Awards will be given in the following three categories:

  • Best Project Award
  • Best Video Award
  • Best Partnership Award

More information regarding each category is available below. Submissions are welcome in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Visit to apply!

Download the Tutorial here.

Deadline: 31 March 2019

Screenshot 2019-02-01 at 14.17.33


Award for best community-led habitat / upgrading project.

Open to all resident-led groups or grassroots organizations working on issues of habitat and the built environment. The nominated project must be already implemented and must have resulted in changes to the built environment (e.g. housing, infrastructure, public space).

Submission Process: Create project profile on; upload project information, and photos, and submit.

Selection Process: Two-step selection process:

  1. Shortlist of projects by committee of SDI representatives, community leaders, and academia
  2. Shortlisted projects will be contacted for additional info/questions if needed.

Prize: 2-3 winning projects will be invited to the CoHabitat Network regional hub hosted at the UN Habitat Governing Council, 27 – 31 May in Nairobi to present winning projects and to share experiences with peers. The winning projects will be have the chance to enter the shortlist stage of the prestigious World Habitat Awards, organized by our partner World Habitat.

Visit to apply!

Watch the Tutorial here or download it here.

Deadline: 31 March 2019

More information:

Screenshot 2019-02-04 at 12.03.18


Award for best video documentation of issues related to built environment & informality.

Are you a young person living in an informal settlement? Have you made a film to draw attention to your settlement and how to overcome its challenges? Do you want to win a prize for the Best Community Activist Film and be flown to Nairobi to receive it?  Then enter the 2019 Community-Led Habitat Awards ASAP!

An award for best video documentation of issues related to built environment & informality open to all Know Your City TV teams and any other and other civic media teams for documentation of issues related to the built environment and urban informality.

Submission Process: Create a partner profile on for the your youth media team; upload video and link video to project profile.

Project Assessment Criteria:

  • Technical quality of the production: Quality of the production in terms of sound, camerawork and editing
  • Creative approach to storytelling
  • Social impact: call to action or take-home message

Selection Process: The public will be able to vote for their favourite Video on between April 1st and 25th.

Prize: Invitation to the CoHabitat Network regional hub hosted at the UN Habitat Governing Council, 27 – 31 May in Nairobi to present winning project and to share experiences with peers. The winning team will produce a short video during the regional hub to be shared via all CoHabitat Network digital platforms.

Visit to apply!

Watch the Tutorial here or download it here.

Deadline: 31 March 2019

More information:

Project Call-Partnership


Award for best partnership between a community-based organization of the urban poor & local government.

Organized communities of the urban poor are invited to nominate public authorities or government officials for best partnerships, policies, public programs, MoUs, upgrading projects/plans that demonstrate active community participation and partnership.

Submission Process: Create a partner profile for the federation, support NGO (and public authority) on for; upload description on the Partnership.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Community leadership: What was the degree of community participation in formulating the policy, program, MoU related to this partnership?
  • Scalability: Is the partnership more of a one-time subsidy or a sustainable financial mechanism that would allow for large-scale impact?
  • Replicability: Can the Partnership be replicated in other countries or cities or is it very context-specific?)
  • Leverage: To what degree has this partnership leveraged additional resources for the community, e.g. technical support, land, funds for housing / upgrading projects, etc.
  • Impact: What has the impact of this partnership been to date on the lived experience / built environment of the urban poor?
  • Political independence: Is the Partnership dependent on a particular political setting, government official, or momentum, or is it formalised to the extent that it can they be sustained through political changes?

Selection Process: A committee of SDI representatives, community leaders, and academia will assess the submitted Partnerships.

Prize: Invitation to UN Habitat Governing Council, 27 – 31 May in Nairobi, and to CoHabitat Network regional hub to present winning project and to share experiences with peers. The winning partnerships will be featured in a short video produced during the event by SDI’s winning media / KYC.TV team.

Visit to apply!

Watch the Tutorial here or download it here.

Deadline: 31 March 2019

More information 


CoHabitat Network is a network of community-led housing organisations and allies from across the world, working together to implement housing rights through collective, non-speculative, people-led solutions. We want to make community-led housing more widespread and attainable, so that communities are empowered to improve their homes, neighbourhoods and lives.

Slum Dwellers International (SDI) is the regional focal point for the CoHabitat Network in Africa and hosts of the first edition of the Community Habitat Award.

SDI is a network of community-based organisations of the urban poor in over 30 countries and hundreds of cities and towns across Africa, Asia and Latin America. In each country where SDI has a presence, affiliate organisations come together at the community, city and national level to form federations of the urban poor that drive a bottom-up change agenda for inclusive cities. The federations comprise thousands of the most vulnerable women, men, and youth who are mobilized around dynamic savings schemes networked to drive a collective, bottom-up change agenda for inclusive and resilient cities and to influence global development. Federations use tools and strategies such as daily savings, peer-to-peer exchanges, community profiling, enumeration, and mapping to organize a critical mass of urban poor communities in cities of the Global South – enabling them to engage with local and national government as partners in development rather than beneficiaries, and to shift development agendas to be more inclusive and pro-poor and ultimately more resilient and sustainable. Organized communities co-produce citywide strategies for securing tenure and increasing access to basic services, housing, and livelihoods with their local and national governments.

The World Habitat Awards recognize and highlight innovative, outstanding, and sometimes revolutionary housing ideas, projects, and programs from across the world. Every year, two winners receive £10,000 each and a trophy, presented at a global UN-Habitat event.

urbaMonde is a non-profit organization supporting cooperative housing solutions in Switzerland and France and facilitating the CoHabitat Network globally. is a collaborative and interactive database of community-led housing and habitat projects. Join the network and interact with a growing community of peers!

More information:


How to apply :

Download a tutorial on how to apply here.

Download the project call here: