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publication March 7, 2019

Evaluating the Potential of Container-Based Sanitation

The World Bank Water Global Practice (WGP) has developed an approach to urban sanitation based on citywide inclusive sanitation (CWIS) principles, which have been developed in conjunction with sector partners (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation et al., 2017). This approach aims to shift the paradigm around urban sanitation approaches in World Bank engagements, promoting the following principles:

  • Everybody benefits from adequate sanitation service delivery outcomes.
  • Human waste is safely managed along the whole sanitation service chain.
  • Comprehensive approaches to sanitation improvements are deployed, with long-term planning, technical innovation, institutional reforms, and financial mobilization.
  • A diversity of technical solutions, which are adaptive, mixed, and incremental, is embraced.
  • Effective resource recovery and reuse is considered.
  • Cities demonstrate political will and technical and managerial leadership, and they identify new and creative ways of funding sanitation.
  • Both on-site sanitation and sewerage solutions, in either centralized or decentralized systems, are considered to better respond to realities faced in cities.
  • Complementary services (including water supply, drainage, greywater, and solid waste) are considered.

As part of the implementation of these principles, the WGP is developing a suite of tools and other material to support Bank teams and their clients when engaging in CWIS. One of the aims of this work is to explore innovative approaches to provide safely managed sanitation services along the whole service chain and to support clients in identifying when such options might make sense.

The study “Evaluating the Potential for Container-Based Sanitation” aims to answer some of these questions for container-based sanitation (CBS), an emerging sanitation approach.

The objective of this study is to document and assess existing CBS approaches, with a particular focus on evaluating their safety, reliability, affordability, and financial viability. The report also seeks to identify the circumstances in which CBS approaches are most appropriate and whether they could be considered as part of a portfolio of options for CWIS. The study was motivated by growing interest in the emerging CBS experiences and by the fact that many governments, city authorities, and financing entities are often not familiar with the approach.

The study builds on four case studies (Sanergy, Nairobi, Kenya; Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods

[SOIL], Cap-Haitien, Haiti; Clean Team, Kumasi, Ghana; and x-runner, Lima, Peru) to provide insights into these questions.


Download the case studies:

·         SOIL in Cap-Haitien, Haiti

·         Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya

·         X-runner in Lima, Peru

·         Clean Team in Kumasi, Ghana