African local governments innovate water and sanitation

Local governments accelerating innovative ways of addressing water and sanitation problems: the story of Kigali (Rwanda) and Kumasi (Ghana).

Two municipalities in Africa, Kigali and Kumasi are innovating their take on water and sanitation challenges. On 4th April 2023, UNDP organized a webinar for both cities to exchange their experiences on its recently inaugurated series “SDG local action sharing” to demonstrate how local governments are using Agenda 2030 to improve the lives of people living in cities.

Joshua Tettey, Project Supervisor of the Kumasi Sanitation Revolving Fund, presented how Kumasi Municipal Assembly is trying to create a sustainable financing scheme.

The scheme will offer low-interest loans to residents and train the local youth to build locally designed private toilets for households in the city. This initiative will have a special impact in reducing risks for women and girls who use toilets at night.

The “Kumasi Sanitation Revolving Fund” Project aims at constructing 915 toilets. Kumasi municipality will also train local young people to build these toilets, thereby creating job opportunities and income. The toilets are bio-digester which do not take too much expertise to construct and are easy to maintain.

The intervention is being piloted in Moshie Zongo, a low-income suburb in Kumasi with about 56,000 inhabitants. Of its 13,740 households, a total of 9,443 are without toilet facilities.

Design for Kigali’s reservoirs (left)
Proposed toilet cubicle for Moshie Zongo, Kumasi (right)

This project’s slogan which is “One Household, One Toilet, and 5 Jobs” will contribute to SDG 6.2 Sanitation and hygiene, and SDG 8.5 Full employment and decent work with equal pay.

The project will minimize open defecation by 2025. 

Similarly, the Project Supervisor of the “Rainwater harvesting and smart solid waste management in upgraded informal neighborhoods of Mpazi and Busanza” , David Musonera presented how the City of Kigali has been working towards improving living conditions of two newly upgraded informal neighborhoods.

Kigali is introducing rainwater harvesting and smart solid waste management in upgraded informal neighborhoods of Mpazi and Busanza.

The two cities are creating innovative ways by collaborating with central government and other partners for a sustainable project and the local action is to improve the lives of people living in the cities.

Rapid migration from rural to urban communities has led to an increase in population living in cities resulting into huge demand for water.

In Africa 779 million people lack basic sanitation services, including 208 million who still practice open defecation and 839 million still lack basic hygiene services. Achieving SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation is crucial for a sustainable future.

The main objective of SDG 6 is to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.