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Moving down the ladder: Governance and sanitation that works for the urban poor

Allen, A; Hofmann, P; Griffiths, H; (2010) Moving down the ladder: Governance and sanitation that works for the urban poor. In: Verhagen, J and da Silva Wells, C and Krukkert, I and McIntyre, P and Ryan, P, (eds.) Sanitation Services for the Urban poor: Partnerships and Governance. (89 - 135). IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre: The Hague.

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Abstract

This chapter paper argues that the widespread privatisation of basic services in the 1990s has in turn led to a redefinition of the role of an ‘instrumentalised state’, in which the traditional functions of legislation, regulation, direct provision and investment have been significantly redefined, in many cases bringing the role of the state closely aligned with the creation of “new business opportunities for transnational corporations” (Finger, 2005:275). However, neither the public nor the international private sector are filling in the gap of meeting the WATSAN needs of the urban and peri-urban poor. The essay contrasts a so-called ‘rationalist perspective’ dominated by the public-private controversy with an ‘empirical perspective’ concerned with gaining a better grasp of the multiple – and often neglected – practices and arrangements by which the urban poor effectively access sanitation on the ground. The concept of ‘service co-production’ is presented in this context as a means to draw lessons from the ground of sanitation provision to and by the urban poor, and to devise meaningful ways to empower the poor to fully exercise their rights and to become agents of change, fostering a type of governance that is people-centred rather than producer-centred. The discussion then moves to examine how to ‘move down the sanitation ladder’ (depicted on page 16) in order to acknowledge and to support the actual options by which the urban poor effectively access sanitation, looking in particular at the roles and responsibilities of the different actors involved. Last but not least, the links between sanitation, land, housing, health and livelihoods are briefly examined, calling for the need to go beyond a sectoral approach to sanitation.

Type:Book chapter
Title:Moving down the ladder: Governance and sanitation that works for the urban poor
ISBN-13:9789066870741
Keywords:governance of basic services, urban water and sanitation, services, poverty and informality
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit

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