Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) is a not-for-profit partnership among NGOs, businesses and academia that brings together local and global expertise for the delivery of water and sanitation services and the promotion of improved hygiene to the urban poor. WSUP works to strengthen the capacity of service providers to deliver sustainable city-wide water and sanitation services and raise the environmental standards of low income communities.
Ghana is making slow progress in sanitation coverage. Only 19% of the population has access to improved sanitation, causing many people to defeacate in the open or rely on unsanitary public toilet facilities. With the government unable to meet the demand for sanitation, and with new policies on the horizon, the demand for private sanitation enterprises has increased. Smaller sanitation enterprises often struggle due to lack of capacity, while customers find it difficult to pay for the services. Innovative business models are needed to overcome these challenges.
MDF Training & Consultancy and WSUP made a selection of (aspiring) sanitation entrepreneurs and worked with them to identify and explore new business models for sanitation services. We focused on developing business models that fit well within the capacities and current operations of the selected businesses, and which align with local policies and strategies. The business models were developed through interactive training sessions while the enterprises themselves tested the models in practice. The process was collaborative; instead of offering ready-made solutions we worked together with the entrepreneurs and ensured business ownership was retained.
The training programme helped sanitation entrepreneurs better understand their own business. The training provided them with tools to assess business opportunities in sanitation, and provided them with the different steps necessary to turn those opportunities into possible business models. The training formed the basis for a sanitation entrepreneur network, and the business models developed and tested in collaboration with participants provided a useful tool for the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and WSUP to shape future interventions and more effectively support the entrepreneurs.