Power relations around gulper technology for fecal sludge collection and disposal in Kampala
Nakyagaba, Gloria Nsangi
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Although planning documents for cities insist on networked models for transport of water and sanitation, global south cities continously prove the presence of multiple options of sanitation provisioning. This study uses the Heterogeneous Infrastructure Configurations (HICs) framing rooted in the theory of Urban Political Ecology to show that the sanitation infrastructure in Kampala is governed through power relations demonstrated in various ways and forms. The study used the gulper pump as an entry point into understanding wider dynamics of enabling and restraining actors. Interview responses established that 1% households employed the gulper alone while 6% had combined it together with other technologies. Also, 50% responses reflected the need to remove solid waste as the reason for employing the gulper, 31% reflected cost customization while 19% was for inaccessibility of facilities by cesspools. The study established that social relations are also vital in accessing sanitation services while the state and its legitimacy regulate the operations of other actors. Finally the study carefully considers practices which lead to inclusion and exclusion of actors in the sanitation sector. These findings were established through Ethnographic approaches in which methods including Participant Observation was utilized. Pit emptiers were followed through their operations. Representatives from urban governance actors such as Kampala Capital City Authority, National Water and Sewerage Corporation and Water for People and operators of pit emptying technologies were engaged in in-depth interviews. The study also emphasizes the importance of situating Urban Political Ecology and how this critical urban, environmental approach is crucial for thinking about infrastructure in the cities of the Global South.