How can we create an inclusive approach and sustainable solutions for informal settlements that last?


Half of the population in Kisumu, Kenya live in informal settlements without access to a well-functioning sanitation system and a possibility to dispose of their waste safely – 67% of faecal sludge in Kisumu and up to 80% of waste is unsafely managed.

Keywords: Human development, informal settlements, WASH, waste, inclusive business, community engagement.

Industry: Human development, WASH, Waste Management.

Focus area

Kisumu is home to about half a million residents of which, some estimate, more than half live in the unplanned belt of informal settlements, around the colonial city core and the peri-urban fringes, rapidly growing as the city expands. The eight primary settlements, despite the economic growth, mirror to a great extent the estimated absolute poverty rate of 48%, as the national average lies around 29%.

67% of faecal sludge in Kisumu and up to 80% of waste is unsafely managed. These intricate waste and sanitation challenges pose a variety of risk to people and the environment as well as fuel persistent exclusion and disempowerment of societal segments.

There is certainly not one single root cause and it is impossible to pinpoint with certainty the wide array of root causes emerging into landscapes of waste and sanitation challenges in Kisumu. Single-handed responses by one actor alone such as the local government or the local community are not very likely to provide complete and inclusive solutions.

Furthermore, well-intended human development efforts by NGOs and the global donor community tend to fall short to sustain impact of innovative solutions beyond projects and pilots. “Solution dropping” often fails establishing local commitment and ownership, and a mechanism ensuring long-term impact at scale.

The challenge

How can we create innovative solutions to Kisumu’s waste and sanitation challenges that are inclusive in nature and deliver continuous impact at scale?

Your solution should:

  • Consider one or a combination of technological solutions that address the waste and sanitation challenge in Kisumu, Kenya and other geographies,
  • Be sensitive to socio-economic-ecological circumstances, especially in informal settlements,
  • Attempt to be integrative and inclusive,
  • Strive for long-term impact at scale

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