Triggering Finance for Pro-Poor Sanitation Improvements

If you were the Mayor of an African city, what would persuade you to spend more money on sanitation services for low-income communities? The Urban Institute has partnered with Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and Johns Hopkins University to better understand who makes decisions around local sanitation financing, what influences those decisions, and how to advocate for more financing to the urban poor.

This two-year initiative focuses on Maputo in Mozambique, Nakuru in Kenya, and the municipality of Ga West in Greater Accra, Ghana. Our research is producing new data and insights to guide WSUP in identifying effective strategies and tools to trigger increased funding for pro-poor sanitation from city governments in sub-Saharan Africa.


Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP)

Period of Performance

January 2014 - July 2016


This paper provides a general framework for understanding the political economy and fiscal determinants of sanitation service provision by urban local governments. The paper will address several questions: what do we expect to influence spending on local sanitation? Do different fiscal instruments have an impact on expenditure levels? Do increased local revenues lead to increased expenditures over the long term? What role do different stakeholders play in determining expenditure levels? The paper first looks at the role of political factors in constraining local expenditure decisions, then turns to a review of the fiscal determinants of service delivery expenditures.

Triggering Increased City-Level Public Finance for Pro-Poor Sanitation Improvements

This literature survey aims to review how communication and advocacy have been used to change local policymaking, programming, and budgetary allocations in the developing country context. Insights gathered from this review will help structure the first phase of data collection for a two-year research grant with Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) on influencing municipal public finance for sanitation. Literature review insights will influence a field guide for semistructured interviews with key policy and political decision makers, professionals in water and sanitation service companies, and community leaders in WSUP program areas.

Message, Method, and Messenger: Literature Survey