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Journal article

Sanitation Governance viewed through different lenses

This paper discusses some of the challenges hindering progress in the sanitation sector and highlights different theories that may be used to improve understanding of the challenges faced at different governance levels.


Ekane, N., M. Kjellén, B. Nykvist, S. Noel, M. Fogde (2013). Sanitation Governance viewed through different lenses. Sustainable Sanitation Practice, Issue 16, 7/2013, 4-9.

It focuses in particular on some East African countries where SEI has on-going multi-level sanitation governance research activities.

The provision of sanitation facilities – a basic necessity for human health, well-being, dignity and development remains a mammoth challenge for countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper presents concepts that can be used to explain some of the challenges, and discusses approaches that can contribute towards improving the sanitation situation in a sustainable way.

The paper posits that part of the problem in the sanitation sector is the contradictions between formal and informal institutions and the disconnect between the actors at the macro, meso and micro governance levels. In addition, the paper asserts that demand-driven strategies and private-sector involvement in the sector are paramount for establishing new sanitation paradigms and socio-technical regimes.

The authors conclude that a good understanding of agents at all levels – i.e. their various roles as well as interactions, and the way they interpret and respond to policies – is key to accelerating progress in the sector.

Read the article (external link to journal)

SEI authors

Bjorn Nyqvist
Björn Nykvist

Team Leader: Energy and Industry Transitions; Senior Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

Madeleine Fogde
Madeleine Fogde

Senior Project Manager

SEI Headquarters

Nelson Ekane
Nelson Ekane

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

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