Sanitation Upgrading in Lilongwe

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Focus Areas: Water & Sanitation

This project, which began in 2012, aims to address the growing demand for improved sanitation in Lilongwe by upgrading facilities. It was funded using funds which had revolved funds from the Blantyre Incremental Housing project. Sanitation loan applications were open to both Federation and non-Federation members. Project activity is now taking place in twenty-three (23) settlements in the city.

Location: Lilongwe, Malawi


To date, one hundred and sixty-three (163) households have benefited. A total of one hundred and eighty-one (181) toilets, including ecosan toilets, have been constructed thus far. 

Community capacity:

Some Federation members were trained to manage the toilet construction. It is hoped that this will ensure quality and efficiency in construction as well as upgrade skills sets in the community.

Other Federation members have been trained as Community Loan Contractors (CLC). The CLCs are responsible for the issuing and collection of loans. It is expected that that the work of the CLCs will maintain the effectiveness of the fund. The CLCs are expected to increase loan repayment and the sustainability of the fund, which ultimately will enhance the fund's ability to deliver toilets to the urban poor.


Due to increased mobilization of communities around enumeration and profiling, there is increasing demand to scale up sanitation. This positively impacts on the potential for scaling up of the project. 


The project continues to use revolving funds to improve the sanitation and hygiene conditions of households in the City of Lilongwe. 


SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$7,398.00

Resources Leveraged:

Technical assistance was provided to the Federation by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Technical Adviser who helped increase affordability of designs.

Patrick Chikoti (+265) 1 756 781 View Website
Project social media channels:

Project information updated: 25 January 2016

Project in depth

Detailed Information

The project sees The Federation of Rural and Urban Poor and the Centre for Community Organisation and Development (CCODE) respond to the growing demand for improved, sustainable sanitation facilities in the city of Lilongwe in 2012. Outcomes of profiling and enumerations of settlements in Lilongwe highlighted this need. 


The aim was to disburse loans to both Federation and non-Federation members to improve their sanitation facilities. 

Community capacity:

The aim was to train community members and equip them with the skills to construct and maintain the toilets. The aim was also to equip loan recipients with the necessary skills to help them save and keep up with their loan repayments.


Disbursement of sanitation loans under this project form part of a broader project to scale up the sanitation programmes running in Lilongwe.


There is great potential to scale the project up to national level as there is very high demand for sanitation facilities. 


SDI Contributions:

SDI made a capital contribution of US$7,398.00

Resources Leveraged:

The Malawi Alliance has sourced funds from UN-HABITAT for the implementation of Urban Household Improvement project in the City of Lilongwe to the tune of US$35,000. The project aims to mobilise communities to adopt sustainable sanitation facilities.

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. 

Costs recovered from community:

Loan recovery is fairly slow as initial loans of this project were used to finance housing which means repayments happen slower. To date approximately ten percent (10.3%) of loans have been repaid and revolved; this made it possible for twenty-one (21) landlords to access sanitation loans. Sanitation loans have a shorter repayment period and thus allow for new loans to be issued.

A performance-based loan management and collection system was introduced to ensure repayment. This has seen repayment rates improve considerably with percentages doubling. The project has enabled the Federation to support the Government in the implementation of the National Sanitation Policy and the Lilongwe City Development Strategy under the sanitation thematic area. This helped raise the profile of the Federation’s work on the national platform.

Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development. (2006). National Sanitation Policy: Final Draft. [Online]. Available:
UN-HABITAT. (2011). Malawi: Lilongwe Urban Profile. [Online]. Available:
UN-HABITAT. (2013). Malawi Reports: Urban Profiles of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba. [Online]. Available:

Funding Information



Funding type:

Grant funding

Implementing Partners

Centre for Community Organisation & Development (CCODE)

Homeless People's Federation of Malawi