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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Possibilities for changing to resource recovery in Kampala's on-site sanitation regime

McConville, J. R.; Kvarnstrom, E.; Ahlstrom, M.; Niwagaba, C. B.


Pressure is growing to develop innovative decentralized sanitation systems that protect public health and recover resources. This study evaluates the opportunities for niche technologies focusing on nutrient resource recovery to enter the market in Greater Kampala, Uganda. It applies methodology from sustainability transition studies in a novel way to provide new insights into possibilities for change in the on-site sanitation sector. The study 1) characterizes the existing socio-technical regime for on-site sanitation, 2) identify stress points in the regime and 3) possible advantages for the niches. Assessment of the regime covers technology, epistemic practice, sector values, organisational modes, policy and financing. The niches include urine diversion toilets, on-site resource recovery, and container-based models. The on-site sanitation regime is under performing and the niches all offer advantages for improved service and resource use. However, it will be difficult for the niches to break into a sector in which epistemic practice, organisational modes and financing are heavily dominated by the sewage regime. Recommendations for creating a more open environment for innovation are provided for specific stakeholders.


Excreta; Multi-level perspective; Niche; Sustainability; Transitions; Wastewater

Published in

Resources, Conservation and Recycling
2022, volume: 181, article number: 106275
Publisher: ELSEVIER

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Kvarnstrom, E.
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden
Ahlstrom, M.
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden
Niwagaba, C. B.
Makerere University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water and sanitation
SDG9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Management

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)