This Thematic Overview Paper attempts to search for pro-poor financing models that can facilitate the urban poor’s access to complete sanitation services. It offers a recommendation for mixing financing mechanisms to meet the urban poor’s needs, and makes a plea for developing poor-specific and full-cycle specific plans for sanitation.

The holy city of Benares in India, or Varanasi, is known for its Ghats, the sites where the River Ganges purifies the bodies of the live bathers and the ashes of the cremated dead. Close to them is the huge square mouth of the city sewerage system, which disgorges its load of blackwater into the river, irrespective of its religious functions.