Pushing the envelope

Most urban poor in Uganda do not receive water utility services and have to pay a high price for alternative supplies. WaterAid Uganda carried out a study to find out how best the national utility can include the urban poor in its operations. The results revealed that utilities can provide quality, affordable service to the poor, including those living in ‘illegal’ slums and shanties, who benefit disproportionately from the improvements in quality and convenience, and reduction in costs. However the utility awareness of the role of serving the poor and any subsequent commitment and ability to undertake this task in the necessarily flexible and creative manner required normally only follows from a significant level of organizational and institutional reform.