Cartier Philanthropy - Bringing water to the urban poor

Bringing water to the urban poor


The urban population of Madagascar is growing by 33,000 every month. Many of these new residents have no choice but to live in slums without access to even the most basic services. Existing water and sanitation services are under increasing pressure and tend to favour wealthier areas. Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) works with the national water company, local government bodies and communities in Antananarivo to design and build or rehabilitate dedicated services in a manner that also ensures their financial viability. After three years’ support, WSUP has helped the national water company significantly increase its supply capacity and a network of 18 water kiosks and 3 laundry blocks has been established. Over 60,000 people now enjoy improved access to water and sanitation.

Focus area
Access to Basic Services

Results achieved

In Madagascar, over 50% of the country’s 20-million people lack access to safe water and share unsanitary toilet facilities. The population is growing faster than the economy, and rapid urbanisation has created a crucial challenge to provide access to clean water and sanitation in the cities.

From 2017 to 2020, WSUP worked with communities, local government bodies and the national water utility company (JIRAMA) in Antananarivo to design and build or rehabilitate and improve water and sanitation services in a manner that also ensures their financial viability.

WSUP’s approach goes beyond “taps and toilets”, aiming to achieve profound social and functional transformation in water and sanitation systems and policies. The organisation assists local authorities in areas such as investment planning, monitoring and the establishment of a regulatory framework, while empowering local service providers and community members to develop, operate and monitor viable water and sanitation services.

The results achieved have been remarkable:

  • The technical assistance and training WSUP provided to JIRAMA enabled it to reduce leakage and metering inaccuracies while achieving a substantial increase in water supply capacity. The water augmentation scheme provided over 52,200 more people with clean drinking water.
  • A network of 18 water kiosks and 3 laundry blocks connected to the city water supply has been established. These kiosks and laundry blocks serve nearly 7,000 people and are managed by Water User Associations that collect affordable fees from households to cover their day-to-day operations and reinvest any surplus in community development projects.
  • 13 water and sanitation facilities have been built or rehabilitated in 31 schools serving over 4,700 school children and 160 teachers. These facilities are managed by School WASH Committees responsible for promoting good hygiene practices and ensuring proper maintenance of the infrastructure.
  • 6,665 people gained improved access to household sanitation.
  • In central Antananarivo (Commune Urbaine d’Antananarivo), solid waste management, stormwater drainage and sewerage are the responsibility of SAMVA (Antananarivo Municipal Maintenance Service). The technical assistance WSUP provided to SAMVA enabled 1,250 people to gain access to improved faecal sludge treatment and disposal.
  • WSUP has strengthened community engagement in hygiene promotion. Behaviour change training for nearly 88,000 people helped improve their hygiene practices, focusing on handwashing with soap, safe and hygienic use of water and toilets, and menstrual hygiene.