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People living in the informal settlement of Dandora in Nairobi often have to walk long distances from their homes to collect water, queue for lengthy periods and pay high prices to vendors. Under the SWIFT programme, Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) has been working in partnership with the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) to upgrade the water supply to Dandora and improve the access of low-income consumers.

In this story, resident Alice Wambui describes the difference it has made to her to have access to a reliable supply of safe drinking water at as little as a fifth of the cost she had previously been paying. With the extra two to three hours she has each day she is earning additional money, and she is looking forward to the health benefits a community clinic and new sewerage extensions will bring when they are completed. 

To ensure the changes will be sustainable, NCWSC has engaged field sociologists to work closely with a project task team, landlords and residents to understand potential customer groups, their attitudes, practices, perceptions and preferences, and their willingness to pay for an improved service. Their research and the task team itself are enabling WSUP and NCWSC to respond to residents’ concerns and encourage a sense of community ownership.

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