Project start: 
Project end: 
Grover Mamani
Jan Spit

Implementing Sanitation SLAs for Blantyre City, Malawi

WASTE supports a consortium of three parties in Malawi to set up service level agreements for sanitation to improve environmental impact and hygiene with support of the private sector.

What we do

Since the passing of the Public Private Partnership Act in the Malawian Parliament, the private sector is involved in emptying pit latrines and servicing market and school toilets. This was not only motivated by dwindling government funds combined with increase in urban population to be served, but also by the expectation that the private sector could do the job more efficiently and effectively. However, most of these sanitation services are informal, substandard, expensive, and unhygienic and form an environmental threat. A handful of services are formally laid down in Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Unfortunately these SLAs concentrate on administrative issues, rather than on the level of service. As far as Sanitation SLAs (SSLAs) are concerned, the private sector is primarily interested in profitable services to the rich as they do not want to take the risk of not getting paid by the poor.

A consortium of three parties: the City of Blantyre (BCC), the Malawian NGO AYISE / Blantyre Waste Concern, and WASTE, has taken the initiative to change this. The project is financed by BMGF and DFID UK.

How we do it

An inventory of existing SSLAs has been prepared and we have researched the motivation and capacity of stakeholders to improve city cleanliness and public health using SSLAs. The stakeholders are the local government (BCC), the private sector and the community. We conclude that Blantyre is ready for a 3-year field /intervention consisting of SSLAs for 100 Public Toilets (PT), 10 Latrine Emptying Services (LES) and 5 Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) sites. This is a tangible, manageable and realistic field test for a regulatory framework and sanitation service delivery.

The primary output of the investment consists of 100 PTs that have been renewed/upgraded/constructed and SLAs between BCC and service providers to operate and maintain these PTs. PTs are located at public areas like markets and bus stations and include high-density low-income areas where physical and financial constraints prevent the construction of household toilets. A number of PTs will be realized by project funds and a number by income generated from profitable operated PTs.

Second output is the assurance that toilets (PTs and household latrines) are always usable and never full of sludge, as the project creates an enabling environment where the private sector purchases modern, hygienic, economical and efficient latrine emptying equipment, assured of profitable business through SSLAs and accompanying policy and regulatory framework with BCC. The project is shaped in such a way that the private sector uses its own resources or obtains bank loans, backed up by SSLAs and recommendations of BCC and project funded loan guarantees.

The third output consists of 5 Faecal Sludge Management (Treatment/Disposal/Reuse) sites operated through SSLAs with the private sector (or semi-government organizations).


Our outcome of the investments is based on BCC’s credo ‘Bringing the City back to the population’. This means ‘Bringing a Clean City back to a Healthy population by 2018’ through:

  • 50% reduction of open defecation;
  • 100% of the population access to a clean public toilet that operates 12/7 (markets) or 24/7 (bus stations, neighborhoods);
  • latrines that are never full;
  • a city where 50% faecal sludge is collected and 50% reduction of illegal dumping practices of collected faecal sludge.

A healthy population by 2018 means 50% reduction of sanitation related complaints to BCC.


WASTE has developed a comprehensive approach that creates an enabling environment by engaging with and supporting the private sector and BCC, called the ‘Diamond’ approach. This is a system-oriented approach, driven by demand and supply mechanisms. The core-stakeholders are the private sector and its clients (individuals, households, landlords, institutions), financial institutions and BCC. WASTE, acting as a broker, will utilize the diamond approach to support and capacitate these key-stakeholders leading to a sustainable sanitation service market.