SWEEP: Improving sustainable and affordable sanitation in Bangladesh
Nearly half of the 55 million residents in the cities of Bangladesh lack access to adequate sanitation facilities. This situation is aggravated in informal slum settlements where households reside in densely packed housing structures with a lack of available space for improved septic tanks and lined pit latrines. These households also have lack of disposable income which limits their ability to pay for hygienic emptying services.
To respond to these challenges Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) established SWEEP, a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) which increases access to affordable and sustainable faecal sludge emptying services for people living in cities of Bangladesh.
SWEEP enables private sector operators to lease equipment from the public sector, lowers barriers to entry into the market and provides septic tank emptying services.
Using a carefully designed variable pricing structure, the model ensures the cost of serving residents of low income communities is partly covered by higher prices charged to those from wealthier areas, making it a commercially viable venture for a private operator.
The model achieves two fundamental objectives: financial viability for the operator, and affordability for low-income urban residents. Customers benefit from the collection, safe transportation and treatment of waste from their communities; and the public-sector benefits from a stable income from the lease of its equipment and capital assets, as well as the knowledge that the waste will be safely managed.
As of March 2021, 1.8 million people had benefited from SWEEP, with 12 businesses part of the programme. WSUP’s goal is to expand SWEEP to 30 cities or municipalities by 2025, and for SWEEP to be embedded within both the private and public sectors as a key means to improving urban sanitation across Bangladesh.
If you’d like to support SWEEP, please contact us at https://www.wsup.com/about/contact-us/