Millions of people especially in urban informal settlements in Africa are still without access to affordable and sustainable water supply, sanitation and hygiene services. This has mainly been due to unclear policy in the water and sanitation policies, corruption tendencies in financial management practices; lack of capacity of civil society and elected officials to hold water and sanitation sector actors accountable and failures of central and local governments to engage stakeholders in water and sanitation in decision-making and priority. GSI supports policy development and implementation such as decentralization, stakeholder participation as well as promoting transparency and accountability within the key stakeholders and conducting monitoring and evaluations in the water and sanitation sector. GSI reviews the existing water and sanitation policies at local and national levels to identify gaps on gender, urban poor, technological options, financial mechanism and institutional setup on small and emerging towns.
Through social Marketing and awareness campaigns, GSI also works to help the urban poor gain sustained access to improved water supply and sanitation services. Social marketing is a powerful and often unexploited method of raising awareness and increasing demand for improved water supply and sanitation. Water and Sanitation marketing is an emerging field that applies social and commercial marketing approaches to scale up the supply and demand for improved water and sanitation facilities in urban Informal settlements. GSI applies strategies that contain elements of commercial marketing and learning from its experiences as well as innovative communication methods that exploit the influence of positive and appealing messages. GSI also facilitates project identification, project selection and project prioritization by the community members in the unplanned settlements in the project target communities. GSI conducts and disseminates poverty mapping, gender assessments and need identification of existing infrastructure supply and delivery systems in place on WATSAN facilities in informal settlements with maximum participation of stakeholders and focus group discussion at local level.
GSI also conducts community action planning processes with local authorities taking the lead and ensuring the participation of men and women, boys and girls and prepares water and sanitation implementation plans for the target Informal Settlements as well as identifying implementation options and alternative technologies for the viable priority projects. GSI prepares, agrees and launches public information campaigns in support of the improved access to water and sanitation and conducts awareness programme on Gender and hygiene concerns. GSI also conducts feasibility studies, environmental impact assessments andtechnical assessments/value for money audits for water and sanitation projects and programs.