Enhancing livelihoods of the urban poor through productive uses of utility-supplied water services – Evidence from Kampala, Uganda

Slums, one of the main faces of urban poverty, are escalating in Sub-Saharan countries and other developing countries. Achievement of the overly ambitious Sustainable Development Goals will require cross-sectoral interventions. A good example is the Multiple Use water Services (MUS) framework, a livelihood-centred approach that is implemented in rural areas of over twenty countries, where water supply primarily designed for domestic purposes is also used for productive uses (e.g. animal husbandry) to improve householders’ livelihoods. This paper reports on a study conducted in 2017/18 in Kampala (Uganda) which adapted the existing ruralbased MUS framework into a slum-specific framework. The study found that using utility-supplied water for productive uses was predominant in the slums, albeit unrecognised by the water utility. Implementation of the slum-specific MUS framework will be effective only with the water utility’s recognition/support, probably as part of its philanthropic portfolio. Livelihoods-based NGOs could provide further ‘software’ support.