SERI WIN coverOn 9 December 2020 International Anti-Corruption Day, a closed group, comprising international and local civil society organisations, water services regulatory boards, academics, slum-dwellers networks, cities alliances and sector experts in the right to water and sanitation and water integrity sectors, gathered to discuss the advocacy implications of a paper published jointly by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) and the Water Integrity Network (WIN).

The paper, entitled “Human Rights and Water Integrity: Implications for Informal Settlement Water and Sanitation” is written by Alana Potter, Virginia Roaf, Irene Ngunjiri and Barbara Schreiner. 

The paper applies a human rights and a water integrity framework to analyse and draw implications from informal settlement case studies in South Africa and Kenya. In South Africa, the paper draws from SERI’s informal settlement action research: Ratanang in Klerksdorp in the North West province; Marikana in Philippi in the City of Cape Town, and Siyanda in KwaMashu, eThekwini municipality. In Kenya, the paper draws from the Mukuru informal settlement near Nairobi, home to an estimated half a million people.

The paper examines the interface between the right to water and sanitation and water integrity and looks at how the lack of integrity and corruption contribute to:

The paper argues that informal settlements exist generally due to state failure to recognise marginalised populations and to plan for increasing populations and migration. The research included in the paper shows that communities living in informal settlements are resourceful, resilient, creative and often have their own forms of internal organisation.

The paper goes on to argue that a framework of water integrity, which promotes human rights and protects non-discrimination and equality, participation, transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption would support improved delivery of water and sanitation in informal settlements and would allow such communities to more effectively hold government to account for failure to deliver services.