Water and Waste


The overall aim of the project is to reduce diarrhoeal disease in urban off-grid populations through safer, affordable vended water, whilst minimising the entry of unmanaged plastic waste into the environment.

Bags of plastics for recycling await collection in Greater Accra (photo credit: Dr. Mawuli Dzodzomenyo, University of Ghana)
Bags of plastics for recycling await collection in Greater Accra (photo credit: Dr. Mawuli Dzodzomenyo, University of Ghana)

In more technical, specific terms, our objectives are to inform urban policy concerning informal water and waste service providers by:

  1. Developing and evaluating an add-in module for household budget surveys (e.g. the Ghana Living Standards Survey), which enables quantification of food-related domestic solid waste and its management.
  2. Quantifying the type and quantity of unmanaged waste found in case study off-grid urban environments.
  3. Quantifying the contribution of informal collectors to waste management in Greater Accra and Kisumu, including the challenges they face in expanding their services, thereby making the case for greater support for such businesses.
  4. Generating preliminary evidence on the effectiveness of initiatives to promote waste separation and recycling in Ghana.
  5. Generating evidence on the impact of Kenya’s delegated management model on the safety of vended water. To reduce non-revenue water loss from illegal connections, this delegated management model passes on responsibility for water services in some low-income neighbourhoods from the utility to local small-scale providers.
  6. Generating preliminary evidence on a co-designed intervention to prevent contamination of vended water in Kenya.
  7. Developing research capacity among postgraduate students at African universities participating in the project, whilst also forging longer term research collaboration between the African collaborators.
  8. Re-evaluating approaches to mapping of slums and informal settlements in the light of the knowledge gained on waste collection and water vending.
  9. Examining the trade-offs between water safety at point-of-consumption, affordability, and the entry of unmanaged waste into the environment for the different case study urban water vending systems in the project.

Taken together, meeting these objectives should provide valuable information about current patterns of waste generation and entry into the environment, as well as evidence enabling off-grid urban communities to better manage their waste and access safer water.