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Published on: 15/09/2011

This is a call for participants and contributors to an in-depth learning and sharing session on sanitation in rapidly-growing towns.

IRC, together with UCLGA, WIN-SA and AusAid, are hosting a Learning and Sharing Workshop around this crucial topic in November 2011. The 2 day session, to be held in Lusaka, Zambia (10 -11 November), will explore proactive, tangible ways to deal with pressing sanitation issues in towns experiencing rapid growth in Southern Africa. 

SADC participants (eligible countries in green at are hereby invited to apply to participate or contribute to the workshop - which discusses practical and pragmatic ways to seize the current ‘window of opportunity’ that exists in rapidly growing towns.

Deadline for applications is 10 October 2011 – see for more information, including the application form and news about the travel bursaries available. TRAVEL bursaries EXIST, BUT are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.


Africa is the most rapidly urbanising continent. By 2010, four in ten of Africa's one billion people lived in urban areas.  Six in ten of those live in slums, where water supply and sanitation are severely inadequate.

However, the majority of future growth is not forecast to be in the mega-cities – it is expected to take place in the medium-sized towns of today.  This is both a problem and an opportunity.  While smaller towns have less capacity to deliver services and often little sanitation infrastructure, their size and lower density provides significant opportunity for action. This can forestall the problems we now see in the slums of large cities.

“Winning the race” will require local governments and their allies to be proactive in preparing for this urban growth. This interactive session will discuss how we can understand the challenges ahead and practical and pragmatic ways to seize the window of opportunity in rapidly growing towns.


  • Discussion of how SADC local governments and their allies can be proactive in preparing for rapid urban growth and the associated sanitation challenges.
  • Sharing of existing knowledge on this topic and tools that are available.
  • The identification of practical and pragmatic ways to seize existing windows of opportunity.

Expected Results

  • A group of committed local governments and individuals who are keen to continue the work and learning together on this topic.
  • Better cross-fertilisation within SADC on an important issue.
  • Proactive measures taken to underpin sanitation delivery in rapidly growing towns and cities across Africa.
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