Strengthening Sub-National Systems for Area-Wide Sanitation and Hygiene

SLH Learning Briefs 9
May 2021

Following widespread decentralisation reforms, including across Africa, responsibility for S&H often sits with sub-national governments.

For some time, local government leadership has been recognised as key to ensuring sustainability and scale and it is an important component of the emerging use of systems strengthening approaches in the S&H sector

From late 2020 to early 2021, the Sanitation Learning Hub collaborated with local government actors and development partners from three sub-national areas to explore ways of increasing local government leadership and prioritisation of sanitation and hygiene (S&H) to drive progress towards area-wide S&H.

It is hoped that this work will provide practical experiences to contribute to this thinking.

Case studies were developed to capture local government and development partners’ experiences supporting sub-national governments increase their leadership and prioritisation of S&H in Siaya County (Kenya, with UNICEF), Nyamagabe District (Rwanda, with WaterAid) and Moyo District (Uganda, with WSSCC), all of which have seen progress in recent years.

The cases were then explored through three online workshops with staff from the local governments, central government ministries and development partners involved to review experiences and identify levers and blockages to change.

This document presents key findings from this process.

Watch the webinar on the findings here:

Additional details

PublisherInstitute of Development Studies
RegionEastern Africa
CountryKenya, Rwanda, Uganda
ThemesGender and equity, Government leadership, Leave no one behind, Monitoring, evaluation and learning, National and sub-national monitoring systems, Outcomes and impacts, Sustainability and safely managed sanitation, Tools and processes
ApproachesCommunity-led approaches, Rapid Action Learning approaches, Sanitation approaches, Small town approaches

Coultas. M (2021). ‘Strengthening sub-national systems for area-wide sanitation and hygiene’ Sanitation Learning Hub Learning Brief 9, Brighton: IDS DOI:


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