Review of BMGF/DFID Partnership cities project

Research Team: Sujatha Srinivasan, Revati Dhoble, Prof. Ligy Philip (IIT, Madras)
LEAD Centre: Centre for Development Finance (CDF)
Focus Area: Infrastructure and Governance
Project Geography: India, Bangladesh


In 2013, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the UK Department of International Development (DfID) initiated a partnership based on a shared vision of universal use of sustainable sanitation services. Six cities in South Asia with demonstrated evidence of long term commitment to improving sanitation service outcomes were selected to benefit from this opportunity. With technical assistance from grantees, these city governments were expected to engage the private sector using service-level agreements that are governed on the basis of clear performance measures linked to service provision. This project is a rapid review of the outcomes of this partnership portfolio, with particular focus on to what extent each city project has contributed to the development and implementation of SLAs and what challenges and good practices emerge from cities during the SLA process which can be applied to future projects and in cities’ future investments in sanitation services.


The review framework was broadly guided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD’s) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which lays down specific criteria for evaluating development assistance with the broader aim of improving the development effectiveness of aid. The review employed qualitative approaches, drawing on both primary and secondary data collection methods and sources for generating comprehensive evidence around the key review questions and synthesis of findings.

Policy Implications

1. The study highlights the potential for and challenges in engaging the private sector in non-networked sanitation service provision
2. The study also highlights the desired institutional preconditions for effectively engaging private sector in sanitation services

Related Resources
Policy Brief: Service-Level Agreements for Inclusive Urban Sanitation Services