This paper draws on sanitation innovations in Blantyre (Malawi), Chinhoyi (Zimbabwe), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Kitwe (Zambia) driven by slum/shack dweller federations to consider what an inclusive approach to sanitation would involve. This includes what is possible for low-income households when there is little or no external support, no piped water supply and no city sewers to connect to.
The paper discusses low-income households’ choices in situations where households can only afford US$ 3–4 per month for sanitation (for instance between communal, shared and household provision). It also considers the routes to both spatial and social inclusion (including the role of loan finance in the four cities) and its political underpinnings. In each of the four cities, the community engagement in sanitation intended from the outset to get the engagement and support of local authorities for city-wide sanitation provision.