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Before yesterdayIRC Water

What is in a name - the ANAM WASH initiative

February 22nd 2021 at 15:58
By: Duti

Launch of ANAM implementation phase

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation supports collective action in many countries. Ghana is proudly one of them.

Photo caption: Launch of ANAM implementation phase. IRC Ghana

In Ghana we believe that names influence character and behaviour. A name can be a  good omen or spell doom and can also be a motivating influence for success. We also believe that a bundle cannot be fastened with one hand.  These beliefs guided the chiefs and key local stakeholders in Asutifi North district when it came to naming their ambitious initiative to deliver safe water and sanitation to everyone within the district: the Asutifi North Ahonidie Mpontuo (ANAM for short) – or in English, the Asutifi North cleanliness initiative.  They coined the name  in acknowledgment that no single actor can deliver such an ambitious agenda alone. It was also to reinforce citizens’ understanding that their desire for a clean society can only be achieved with safe water, sanitation, and good hygiene. 

The name and the vision of universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) across the district, was arrived at following a year of extensive context analysis, stakeholder consultation and inception meetings to stimulate local understanding and buy-in.

Local authority driven process

The ANAM WASH initiative seeks to test a local-authority-led partnership with NGOs to drive district-wide access to WASH services. In recognition of the complex dynamics of providing access to everyone, the model further aims to give voice to and empower the socially excluded in decision making.  This latter, by stimulating popular support for WASH through the creation of a WASH network supporting proactive citizen engagement.

To support the local authority in driving the process, the initiative includes a hub function to facilitate the intricate task of partner coordination. This function is performed by  IRC, who have leveraged partners’ shared ambition for collective success by guiding the processes of joint visioning and implementation, fostering harmonisation of partners’ efforts and innovations, and ensuring mutual accountability for progress towards equitable outcomes.

Like assembling an aircraft

Being part of this discovery journey since its inception in 2017 has felt like working in an aircraft manufacturing process (impact lab).  Each partner has focused on developing parts of the whole thereby contributing to a collective effort of knowledge building and developing harmonised, scalable solutions. We have co-created and tested solutions to improve aspects of the service delivery machinery required to drive universal WASH access in a district.

The principles and actions fostered by the initiative may not be particularly new, rather, the uniqueness of the approach lies in how district actors are being brought together through deliberate convening and coordination by the local authority and traditional leadership with support from a dedicated hub organisation.

Achieving WASH prosperity

The evidence thus far from the experiment points in the direction of a more coherent and productive WASH system in the making. A climate in which all experience a genuine stake in the district’s increasing WASH prosperity is being fostered.

It is gratifying to note that the Asutifi North District Assembly  is becoming more confident and able to offer effective leadership to actors in its WASH sector.  Likewise, citizens are feeling a greater sense of shared ownership of the district WASH agenda as their opinions are sought in formulating responsive solutions and their WASH grievances are addressed. There is a remarkable improvement in water services and the district is on track to achieve universal access ahead of the 2030 target. We see how collective power can drive success when challenges are locally felt, solutions locally owned and leadership is taken on at the right levels. By 2020, an estimated 11,500 people had experienced some level of water service improvement. This includes 7,000 people getting to safely managed services and 4,500 people getting to basic water services. A total number of 52,000 people (of a total population of 63,000 in 2017) now have at least basic water services in the district.

Adapting due to COVID

2020 has been an unusual year with the COVID-19 pandemic but there has been a bright side to the twist despite the disruption. Empowered and inspired by the ANAM initiative, the local authority is providing clear and responsive leadership in rallying its WASH stakeholders to mobilise resources to implement a range of short- and medium-term interventions to mitigate and recover from the impact of COVID-19.

As Asutifi emerges from COVID, the partnership will shift attention to ensuring the resilience of existing WASH systems, whilst identifying and addressing the specific needs of hard-to-reach areas. It will also continue to bring lessons to inform sector dialogues, policy reviews and scale-up in other districts.

"Good Practice of WASH”

In  recognition of its success, the district was one of three selected by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) for documentation of inspiring examples of efforts towards achieving SDG6 in Ghana. Through this, the ANAM delivery approach has been included in the “Good Practice of WASH” compilation published by NDPC and shared with metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies across Ghana to inform their WASH delivery practices.  Currently, NDPC is considering incorporating learnings from the initiative into the next cycle of planning: developing WASH guidelines for all districts in Ghana to use in preparing medium-term WASH strategies and plans.

This plan will not end up on the shelf

The sector in Ghana is charting a new course to respond to changing needs by formulating new national development policy frameworks, revising sector policies and strategies, and reforming institutions. The processes are providing an opportunity for the sector to engage and clarify roles, but many issues including the role of local government and communities in water service delivery in the future state remain undecided.  The Asutifi North district authority, the traditional leaders and people, IRC and other partners working in and beyond the district, are well placed to constructively engage in the sector change dialogue using the evidence curated.

These processes promise to shape how to consolidate fragmented WASH interventions and improve accountability under a single institution through a network of people and functions working together to deliver WASH services to everyone.

The name ANAM WASH initiative will not be lost in sector history.

The partners

ANAM WASH is supported by a broadly based partnership of national and international actors including: the Asufiti North District Assembly, IRC, World Vision. Safe Water Network, Aquaya Institute, Netcentric Campaigns and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It receives financial support from these partners and also from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Dutch Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS).

Editor’s note:

While collective action such as that of the ANAM WASH initiative takes place at district level, our goal is to inspire replication and wider impact. Click here to find out how partners in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Uganda are working together for safe water, supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation's Safe Water Strategy. This set of advocacy and outreach materials has been designed to ensure that what we learn is shared and adopted in more districts in the countries where we work, and in other countries.

You will find even more examples of collective action under Useful Links. 


Asutifi North water partnership impact sends ripples across Ghana

February 23rd 2021 at 12:29

Two new videos show how a district-wide partnership is transforming water coverage and lives.

Water vendor in Agravi, Asutifi North, Ghana


Photo caption: Water vendor in Agravi, Asutifi North, Ghana. Peter McIntyre/IRC

Robel Lambisso Wahimso, Ghana WASH Program Manager for World Vision, reflects on the success of the Asutifi North Ahonidie Mpuntuo (ANAM) initiative to deliver WASH access to everyone in the district by 2030.  

“We have all joined our hands towards achieving a common agenda under the umbrella of the Universal WASH master plan. It is a unique experience for World Vision. I believe it is a unique experience for the other partners as well.”  

James Ata-Era, District Development Planning Officer confesses that the District Assembly has been amazed at the impact as the initiative they lead brings safe water to communities, who are willing to pay for it.  

“The number of requests for maintenance of boreholes to the Assembly has reduced drastically. We ourselves are amazed.” 

The two videos focusing on Asutifi North each look at different aspects of the work. Commitment and leadership on the road to universal WASH coverage details achievements and reflections of those leading the initiative. Asutifi North partners join hands to reach a common goal gives partners space to reflect. 

District Chief Executive, The Hon. Anthony Mensah, sees the ability of the district to deliver safe water as a key indicator of good government. “I am going to be measured based on my performance and part of it will be how I was able to deal for people to get potable and clean water.” 

Joseph Ampadu-Boakye, Safe Water Network Sector Engagement and Partnerships manager, believes this approach could reach 3.2 million people in small towns and peri-urban across the country, provided the lessons are taken on board.  

“Local government authorities are willing to invest in water services, provided as partners we are also willing to invest a lot more time and effort in taking them through a process where they completely understand what it is that they are putting their resources into. We need to understand the fact that they are duty bearers and for every single Cedi or dollar that they spend they have a responsibility of being able to explain to their constituents the reason why they are making that investment.” 

IRC plays a hub role in this partnership. Jeremiah Atengdem, IRC Ghana WASH Expert said, “In a good working partnership you need to have backbone organization to drive change, ensure we have a master plan everyone believes in and is committed to ensure that at every point on the way partners are keeping their eyes on the ultimate vision which is to achieve universal WASH access.” 

Two other videos that tell the transformational story of the Asutifi North District initiative, documented under the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) good practice for WASH in Ghana cases include: 

How the ANAM WASH Initiative is transforming lives looks at the impact in three communities. In Wamahinso Town it contrasts the peace and calm at water points today with the near riots in 2018 when pumps ran dry. In Agravi village it shows how women have been relieved of a half kilometre uphill struggle every day with water from a contaminated open well. In Panaaba, Chief Nana Attakorah Amaniampong coined the phrase “Where World Vision goes, water flows” to sum up the transformation of his village. Water vendor Doris Bosompimaah even dreams of selling iced water from her stall. 

WASH for schools and health centres shows how water in schools reduces absenteeism and improves concentration in class. In Gambia no 1,  Vivian Kumah, nurse in charge of the CHPS health centre can at last practise effective infection control. “Doing childbirth without water is not safe,” she says bluntly. 

Dr Kodjo Mensah-Abrampah, Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission in Ghana says the whole country must learn from these experiences. “I think that is the path that we need to go if you want to make an effect.  Asutifi is not a special area in the country but it has now suddenly become the Mecca for good water management and how a team and a group can work together to responds to some of these areas.”

Symposium on small town WASH services in Ethiopia

December 21st 2020 at 11:07
By: Adank

Some 50 representatives from towns and regional bureaus participated in the small-town WASH symposium on 3 December at the GetFam hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They were joined online by some 30 stakeholders from national and international level during the morning session, focussed on implementation approaches for small town WASH, and the afternoon session, focussed on monitoring small town WASH.

On 3 December, the hybrid face-to-face / online symposium on "Climate-resilient systems approaches for small town WASH services in Ethiopia" took place in the GetFam Hotel in Addis Ababa and online. This event was organised by UNICEF Ethiopia, IRCWASH Ethiopia and the Water Development Committee of the Ministry of Water Resources, Water and Energy of the Government and Ethiopia, with financial support from the British Embassy and KfW.

The objectives of this symposium were to

  1. for sector stakeholders to learn and share on small town WASH, with a focus on system strengthening and climate resilient approaches, and
  2. for sector stakeholders to identify innovations for scaling up and agree on specific areas that need more lobby and advocacy.

The list of presentations with links to the recordings and PowerPoints (in PDF) can be found below. Recordings of the full sessions will be made available soon. 


Morning session on implementation approaches for small town WASH

Integrated approach for WASH and BCBT contracting modality, and innovations on inclusive WASH in the ONEWASH PLUS PROGRAMME
Presentation by Lavuun Verstraete, from UNICEF Ethiopia, on the integrated approach towards small town WASH, contracting arrangements and the build-build capacity- transfer (BCBT) approach, as developed and implemented under the ONEWASH Plus Programme.

ONEWASH Plus Programme: Welenchiti experience
Presentation by Feyisa Chala from the Welenchiti Town Water Utility, as a case study of the successes and challenges of the ONEWASH Plus programme in Welenchiti town.

Applying a Learning Alliance Approach in Small town Sanitation (Ethiopia)
Presentation by Muhammed Musa, from IRC WASH Ethiopia / Tetratech, on undertaking a systems approach towards improving small town sanitation through facilitation of town level learning alliances in Wolisso and Debre Birhan.

Integrated water supply model serving refugee and host communities in Gambella
Presentation by Yitbarek Birhanu, from the Itang Town Water Utility, on how the Itang Town water utility served both a large refugee camp population, as well as host communities.

Afternoon session on monitoring small town WASH

Monitoring of small town WASH: Experiences from WaterAid Ethiopia's 20 town capacity Development programme
Presentation by Haile Dinku, from WaterAid Ethiopia, on WaterAid Ethiopia's 20 town programme and the performance monitoring developed and applied under this programme.

Development of performance indicators in Ethiopia
Presentation by Azeb Tadesse, from the Water Development committee of the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia, about performance indicators and benchmarking for urban water services in Ethiopia.

Sustainability checks for small towns in the ONEWASH Plus Programme
Presentation by Marieke Adank, IRC WASH, on sustainability checks, developed and executed under the ONEWASH Plus programme in Ethiopia to monitoring small town WASH services and the conditions for sustainable WASH service provision.

Tackling systemic inequalities in water and sanitation

December 10th 2020 at 21:48
By: Nansi

Systematic or systemic inequalities are grounded in our mindsets; in the way, we think, in the way we plan, in the way we see people, and in the way we interpret the rights to water and sanitation.

Women attending community meeting in the Sahel region, Burkina Faso. © IRC, 2015.

Women attending a community meeting in the Sahel region, Burkina Faso. © IRC, 2015.

 A lot has changed, practically all events have gone virtual over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Something positive though is, we have realised the exciting potential, built new skills, reached more audiences, and discovered that virtual is not all bad.  

At this year’s Annual Water and Health Conference: Science, Policy, and Practice hosted by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC) Water Institute [October 26–30th], more than three thousand participants attended this registration free well-executed virtual conference. The 2020 conference was anchored by major panel conversations covering timely topics such as WASH response during the COVID-19 pandemic and Systemic Inequalities in WASH.   

Systemic Inequalities in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH)  

The plenaries were an opportunity to explore critical themes emerging in 2020. While a lot of information was shared over the week, this reflection stems from one of the most challenging and interesting themes - Systemic Inequalities in WASH - at which I was one of the panellists. This plenary, just like all the others, was used to challenge us, to review the evidence to stimulate critical thinking and to try to look at our work in new ways so that we can learn and do better. Systemic inequalities in WASH gets to the heart of who we are as a sector and why we do what we do. Recognising that it is not all about water and sanitation for some, but for everyone.  

It happens that we are allowing either consciously or unconsciously for systemic inequality to get in the way of our achieving SDG6 and achieving the real impacts that we hope to have for the beneficiaries of our work.  

In his elaborate and eloquent introduction of the theme and discussion, Dr Aaron Salzberg from the 2020 UNC Water and Health Plenary Panel honestly said that he was somewhat afraid of the topic. He touched on several forms and examples of systemic inequalities, ranging from people in the south struggling at odd hours to find a place with good wi-fi to join the conference, the unequal treatment of people of colour within the United States, in particular black indigenous and Latino communities that have been ignored. The deeply rooted systemic practices that have led to the indiscriminate attacks on and the discriminatory treatment of communities of colour, the growing wage and wealth inequalities in the United States and across the globe. It is highly likely that even our children will not see gender parity in our lifetimes. At the current rate, and this was before COVID 19, it will take 257 years according to the World Economic Forum to close the economic gender gap deeply impacting communities of colour and low-income communities around the world. Countless others have had to die before Black Lives Matter, and that one in every 100 indigenous Americans has died
. Aaron’s list of inequalities was not exhaustive but clearly gives a true picture of what the reality has become

This is also true for the work that we do on water, by providing water and sanitation services to an informal settlement on the outskirts of a city we are allowing the government to skirt its fundamental responsibilities and continue its oppressive practices of not legally recognising marginalised communities. It may be easier for us to provide the services than to force governments to recognise the rights of these individuals and grant them land tenure access to capital and extend municipal services. Also, realising that we have let the SDGs define success and have invested in vanity metrics the number of people served rather than measures related to capacity and autonomy of communities.  

COVID-19 is a time of reawakening, a lot has changed, and this situation has reminded us of how fragile life is at a global scale and how ill-prepared we are to address the challenges that we will face in the 21st century, challenges like the spread of infectious diseases, climate change, food and water, and security, access to basic services and health care.  

  Women fetching water in the Sahel

Women fetching water in the Sahel region, Burkina Faso. © IRC, 2015.

Now let’s look at the rural situation in Africa, that I am well familiar with as the IRC country director in Burkina Faso, leading the country programme as well as the regional African programme. 

Over the past decades, I have learnt more about who is left behind and who are not enjoying safely managed WASH services, what, how inequalities are shown, what are the root causes and what would be the solution. 

Most of the time many of us as practitioners in the developing world start working on inequalities with the assumption that the victims are a minority of the population. We used to think that when you talked about marginalisation, these were people living with disabilities, or people living in fragile states, but when we look at the figures of the Joint Monitoring Group [JMP] data of 2017, 73% of the population in sub-Saharan countries in Africa did not have access to safely managed water services and 82% did not have access to safely managed sanitation services – this is really the majority that is left behind from enjoying adequate public services. All these figures confirm the need to address this challenge. This is a noticeably big problem, an excessively big need that we need to address.  

Consciously or unconsciously somehow perpetuating this kind of discrimination 

One of the things that we all know is that many of these victims of inequalities in sub-Saharan Africa are living in rural areas. One of the things that I have noticed is that when we think for example about rural water, we all kind of systematically think about hand pumps and boreholes, while when we think as sector technicians about urban water, we instinctively think about tap water household connections. This way we are consciously or unconsciously somehow perpetuating this kind of discrimination while the data from the World Health Organization [WHO] confirms that handpumps can only deliver basic services and basic services are not enough for improving health. So how do we make the decision that rural people only deserve basic services, and improved services are meant only for those who are wealthy? How do we make the decision about blaming people for being poor? This is clearly just one example of how the systematic or systemic inequalities are grounded in our mindset, it drives a lot of what we do and see, in the way we think, in the way we plan, Etc. How we make assumptions about the types of service that rural people either should have or deserve. 

There is also the issue/bias around data collection, data analysis and then the fundamental assumptions that we make often at the very beginning of a scientific process that in many cases can lead to significant biases and outcomes. 

Listening very carefully and regularly to what people want in the WASH sector is not something we do naturally. This is reflected in the way that we design our questionnaires and surveys. It is about the questions we want to ask and the answers that people give. These are rarely open-ended questions that point to what people want, what their priorities are, for example about sanitation. 

A brief notable example of the work in our community in Banfora district in Burkina Faso is when we were doing data collection and surveys for designing the masterplan for WASH-related SDGs. Going back with the results to the community and they said: yeah, we already know our problems, but for once, you’re considering our expectations and vision in terms of service quality and not only how many handpumps we’re missing in our community as we use to hear from other partners. So, listening and creating space for people to share their knowledge and vision and not only to collect their problems from the lens of our predefined solutions.  

There is no single solution to dealing with inequalities 

The issue of any inequality must be tabled in a constructive manner and not be about pointing fingers at anybody. We need to acknowledge our mistakes and say what is going on despite our good intentions, what we are doing wrong so that we can improve. These issues should be discussed with the public authorities in the developing countries and their development partners.   

As organisations/people providing support to the government in developing countries, we also need to recognise the fundamental and critical responsibility that the public authorities have for addressing the issues of inequalities in a sustainable manner. There is no single solution from my experience that bypassed authorities mandated by their people for taking care of their community. 

Another crucial point is that we must rethink or reframe the usage of our performance indicators that help highlight inequalities rather than hiding them. In my experience, it happens a lot that we have good indicators, but the accuracy as compared to the actual percentages can tend to hide a lot of inequalities and finally, we need to be aware of the critical needs for strengthening country sub-national and national government systems. This is all about all the mechanisms in place for policymaking, institutional arrangements, planning, budgeting, financing, monitoring, accountability and learning and adaptation.  

It is the whole complex system that is actually perpetuating the inequalities and that needs to be strengthened, to be transformed in some cases, to make the change we are all pleading for. 

Addressing Systemic Inequalities in WaSH – It's Me; Not You

Gratitude goes to Vera van der Grift for her support in making this happen, and Tettje van Daalen for the proofread. 


Communities aren't enemies, we should harness their capacity

December 3rd 2020 at 08:35

Exploring the links between community activism, service providers and Self-supply.

As so many global webinars these days are starting to look and feel the same, it's nice to be invited to more national and local events. Recently I had the pleasure to participate in the Socio-Economic Rights Institute's (SERI) webinar on an incredible case study from South Africa in the town of Harrismith. Ex-IRC staffer Alana Potter and her team at SERI are working hard to highlight the municipal service delivery crisis in South Africa and the challenges of implementation even when you have good law, policies and, compared to neighbours, better capacities.

What I found so interesting about this case was that it is a microcosm for so many of the issues that IRC cares about, at the same time, and all in one town. It touches on improving service levels from piped systems, reaching the poor and marginalised with services, local government performance, collective action and the role of civil society. You get most of that in the short news video below, as the case also hit the headlines in South Africa.


The reason I got invited was to make a link between community activism and Self-supply, which is possible if stretching the definition of Self-supply. In a forthcoming book by Sally Sutton, there are many notable examples of households and communities doing things for themselves. That includes the 40% of water supplies in the rural US that are self-financed, the women's movement in Ireland that propelled the country to increase piped access by five times over 10 years, or the perhaps 300 million or more people in Sub-Saharan Africa, who rely today on Self-supply. The level of effort put in by people helping themselves tends to be underestimated almost everywhere.

Of course, we also have to point out for balance that communities will not do everything for themselves, especially if the models are externally developed and driven. We now look at unsupported community management of rural water supplies as a failure.

Harrismith is a town with a piped water network and infrastructure clearly owned by the municipality. So, it's not really Self-supply as we use the term. Stepping in to repair vital infrastructure, an alliance of local farmers and community activists got the water flowing again in the town, but not in a way that is envisioned in those fine water laws and policies. We heard in the webinar how procurement rules have generally not stopped crooks stealing, but do stop municipalities from reaching out to work with communities. The only option the municipality really has under the critical section 78 of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act is to outsource service delivery to a private company. There is a gap in allowing community involvement, with laws making partnerships complicated.

So, the community in Harrismith had to step over the line to get their water back. Doing that might be considered wrong by some , but is surely better than blocking the nearby highway, which was an earlier tactic. How to harness local capacities and the interests of the community is not only the critical issue in Harrismith, but also in Self-supply affecting those 300 million across Sub-Saharan Africa. Those efforts have been ignored while sector professionals designed and pushed what we thought were better solutions like handpumps and community water committees. There is another lesson from Harrismith too. Piped water schemes can fail and fail badly. But there are always solutions available too.

In August 2020, SERI, in partnership with End Water Poverty, launched research documenting lessons and experiences from water rights claiming by residents and social movements in South Africa. Read the blog by Alana Potter (SERI) on water rights in South Africa.

Watershed Ghana partners host end-of-project event in Accra

December 1st 2020 at 10:03
By: awumbei

The Watershed end-of-project meeting highlighted the contributions to WASH/IWRM improvements in Ghana and discussed partnerships beyond the project.

A strong civil society is essential for improving water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and Water Resource Management (WRM) governance, which remains a challenge in achieving universal access to sustainable services.

In the last 5 years, Watershed empowering citizens strategic partnership has been working to increase local CSO / citizen empowerment and engagement with government for WASH and WRM prioritisation, integration, and equitable financing. The strategic partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IRC, Simavi, Wetlands International and Akvo worked in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Mali, India, Bangladesh, and The Netherlands.

The programme in Ghana involved local CSO partners including, the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), Hope for Future Generation, Conservation Foundation and Ghana WATSAN Journalist Network.

The Watershed Ghana partnership has delivered many improvements in the governance and management of water resources and WASH services through evidence-based advocacy and strengthened the capacity of local civil society organizations.

With the project closed-up in September 2020, the Watershed Ghana partners hosted the end-of-project event in October 2020 to highlight the contributions of the project towards WASH and WRM improvements in Ghana and to identify and leverage partnerships beyond the project.

Find out more from this video

10 years of progress washed away

November 11th 2020 at 13:03
By: Smits

Honduras HUrricane Eta

In the wake of Hurricane Eta, IRC and Water For People support government appeal and call for immediate action to restore a decade's worth of water and sanitation development in Honduras.

Article jointly written by Stef Smits, Country Coordinator, IRC Honduras and TĂșpac MejĂ­a Country Director, Water For People Honduras.

Over the last few days, while the eyes of the world were focused on the elections in the USA, further south, a disaster had happened. Hurricane Eta hit Central America. It left a trail of destruction, especially in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. It reminded us of hurricane Mitch which hit these countries back in 1998. Fortunately, Eta was less deadly. So far, the victims number in the hundreds, while Mitch took the lives of 11,000 people. The material damage, however, is just as big. In Honduras alone, the estimated damage is US$ 5 billion.

As organisations that have been working on water supply and sanitation in the region, we saw several years of progress washed away. Though a full inventory of the damages is underway, the first reports from the three municipalities with whom we have worked most closely, show a severe impact. The situation is likely to be similar in many other municipalities. In 2012, the municipality of Chinda celebrated being the first municipality in Honduras to achieve universal access to water supply. Now the town’s drinking water supply is heavily damaged as part of the town was flooded. San Antonio de CortĂ©s saw heavy damages to 33 of the 45 village water supplies. Communication with the municipality officials of El Negrito has not been fully established. So far 13 communities, including the main town, have reported damages. We expect this number to go up as we receive reports from the more remote communities with whom we have worked over the years to provide services. Across the three municipalities, this means a drop in the level of access to water supplies from 97% prior to Eta to 58%, affecting 40,000 out of the 75,000 people living in these three municipalities.

Aerial view of destruction

These are heart-breaking figures. Behind each of these statistics are villagers who worked hard to construct these systems; community leaders and politicians who mobilised the necessary resources; and users who rejoiced in getting water and sanitation services for the first time.

Efforts are being undertaken by the Government of Honduras, municipalities and NGOs to address the situation by providing filters and undertaking quick repairs. Honduras is especially vulnerable to natural disasters and hence has a reasonably well-developed emergency response system. We are confident that – in spite of everything – the immediate needs can be addressed.

More worrisome are the needed repairs, rehabilitation and reconstruction. The amount of money and, above all, time these communities, towns and municipalities had put into getting water and sanitation to everyone, are enormous. Ten years of hard work have been undone. And we cannot bring back that time.

But we also cannot just let 10 years of progress get undone. We need to get behind the communities and municipalities affected by Eta, and make sure that they get their water supplies back and functioning as they were before Eta hit. The Government of Honduras has made an appeal to the international community for support in its recovery and reconstruction efforts.

We fully support this appeal and will do what is in our power to help out. Through the Para Todos, Por Siempre partnership, we are working closely with the Government to inventory the damages to water supply and sanitation systems. Also, we are supporting the coordination and exchange of information in doing these inventories and the planning of repair works.

We call upon our partners, funders and friends to respond to the appeal made by the Government of Honduras and do whatever is in your power to make sure that 10 years of progress dis not washed away for good but is quickly re-instated.

In response to this urgent need, all donations received in November will go towards reconstruction efforts in Honduras.

Act now

IRC launches new partnership with Kabarole District

November 11th 2020 at 11:02

New project on supporting WASH in healthcare facilities in the fight against COVID-19.

Fort Portal, Kabarole, UGANDA. 11 November 2020 - IRC Uganda today launches a new project with Kabarole District Local Government to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 through strengthening water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in healthcare facilities.

IRC has through funding of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation supported Kabarole District to achieve universal access to WASH through the Safe Water Strategy since 2018. In March 2020 when Uganda confirmed the first COVID-19 case, both the WASH and healthcare sectors experienced immense pressure as services that were essential in prevention and control of the spread of the infection were limited. IRC responded through support to Kabarole District Health Office with various interventions including emergency provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers; improvement of sanitation and hand hygiene facilities in health centres; provision of drinking water kits to healthcare facilities and Infection Prevention and Control mentorships, among others.

"The pandemic has made obvious what we knew all along: that water, sanitation and hygiene are the first line of defence against many infections. As we embrace the new normal, full coverage of WASH services in all institutions is a must, starting with healthcare facilities" – Jane Nabunnya Mulumba, Country Director IRC Uganda.

The one-year project implemented with USD 154,000 funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will deliver long-term interventions in infection prevention and control including COVID-19, through strengthening the district healthcare system and modelling comprehensive WASH in healthcare services.

"This partnership between IRC and Kabarole District is in line with IRC's goal to strengthen district capacities to provide lasting WASH services for all," says Ms. Mulumba. "We are making a deliberate statement that while COVID-19 has hit us hard, future resilience and sustainability of healthcare service delivery can only be guaranteed by good governance and management of water, sanitation and hygiene services in healthcare facilities."

Kabarole District will with this funding increase awareness about COVID-19 prevention and response efforts through risk communications and hygiene promotion; strengthen protection and safety of healthcare workers through provision of PPE and mentorship in infection and prevention control; and articulate standard WASH governance and management of healthcare facilities through model healthcare centres. The funding will also support capacity strengthening of the district health teams and healthcare workers for sustained WASH engagement and behaviour change.

Partnership development in an alliance for increased impact

October 29th 2020 at 09:01
By: Grift

Documenting the processes used to develop strong partnerships among NGOs and sharing some lessons learned about partnership development in an alliance in Ethiopia.

Water station in Ethiopia

Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) has been implementing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes in rural Ethiopia since 2004 to improve WASH service delivery. By convening members and partners, MWA has worked collaboratively to provide WASH services for more than two million rural Ethiopians in several regions. MWA has been using the collective impact framework to support greater impact by organisations working together rather than separately.

MWA convened and led a short-term, 2017-2019, programme titled, Bridge Program, funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (Hilton Foundation). This work involved the MWA secretariat serving as the hub, IRC WASH providing technical support, and six WASH NGOs including CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Hungry, Helvetas, WaterAid, and World Vision providing the on-the-ground implementation work and collaborative long-term planning with district governments. One of the key deliverables of this programme was to develop strong partnerships both among the NGOs collaborating on the ground and with key government partners.

Contributing to Ethiopia’s nation-wide vision of achievement of SDG6

The long-term goal of this work was to contribute to Ethiopia’s nation-wide achievement of safe, affordable, and sustainable water service delivery by 2030. This requires working together and in a supportive role with the government which has the mandate to provide improved WASH services. Given the nature of the SDGs and the type of systems strengthening work required to achieve them, new ways of working and new approaches are needed. Trying to make this type of progress without trust and strong partnerships seem impossible. Additionally, there is a specific intention to ensure that innovations and methods that are proven successful get replicated in the work of partner organisations beyond this specific programme. Successful replication beyond a programme is more likely through existing and trusted relationships.

The Learning Brief has documented the processes used to develop strong partnerships among NGOs and shares some lessons learned along the way. It focuses exclusively on the development of partnerships and the use of the collective impact framework across a group of NGOs working on this joint programme. The paper discusses the activities conducted by MWA to develop trust and partnership across a group of NGOs; the methods used to engage in collective impact, and the lessons learned about partnership development in an alliance.

This paper can be found online at www.mwawater.org and was published in 2020. It is made possible through support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

She Makes Change - an update

October 19th 2020 at 09:09

COVID-19 has forced the women in Odisha to postpone the workshops that IRC raised funds for during the 'She Makes Change' campaign.

Women have more acute needs due to cultural and biological roles, and a lack of services is often at the cost of their health, education, employment and participation in politics and society. Therefore, it is important that women have a say in WASH decision making. On the occasion of International Women's Day on March 8th 2020, IRC raised funds for women to ensure their voices were heard.

The ‘She Makes Change’ campaign successfully raised €2,868.25 for capacity building of women in the state of Odisha in India. The funds will be used to organise a series of workshops to provide foundational knowledge and skills to women in Ganjam district of Odisha, to enable them to assert their rights as citizens and participate in local government decision making.

Originally scheduled to be held in the months of June and July 2020, these workshops have not yet been organised due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of corona cases in India has been on the rise since early this year. At 7,307,097, India is currently the country with the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world. However, in terms of number of daily cases, it has the highest in the world (on 15 October).

The strict lockdown enforced by the Government of India in March 2020 gave rise to a wave of reverse migration. A significant proportion of the working age population in Ganjam works as migrants in the textile mills of Surat in the state of Gujarat. With the closure of the mills, high rate of infection, loss of employment and poor living conditions in the industrial town, the migrants returned to Ganjam. It is estimated that over a million migrants returned to the district in the pandemic.

The return of the migrants to Ganjam has led to a massive surge in corona cases in the state of Odisha, making Ganjam the non-capital hot spot in July, with a peak of over 700 cases in a day. To date, the district has recorded over 20,000 cases, with 29 confirmed cases in the last 24 hours at the time of writing. The return of the migrants has increased stress on the limited health infrastructure in the district as well as on the resources.

Considering these conditions, the leadership workshops have been postponed to next year. It must be added here that, the pandemic has also reinforced the need for skill training. Handwashing with soap is one of the easiest precautions against the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID -19. Access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene services is thus essential. Therefore, it becomes all the more critical to strengthen the capacities of women and other marginalised sections of the population to effectively plan, make decisions, reach out to and  hold duty bearers and service providers accountable, where required, to ensure services for all.

The significance of these skills goes beyond the realm of WASH. They empower women to access more opportunities, enable them to demand for themselves as well as for other marginalised populations. We know that such skills have the power to bring about transformative change.

How to help

If you would like to help support this project, or any others, you can make a donation here. Alternatively, contact us for other ways to support the women and marginalised populations in Ganjam and beyond.

Quatre ans aprĂšs, Aboubakar Hema a-t-il tenu ses promesses ?

September 28th 2020 at 15:06

Interrogation l'Ă©dile de Banfora sur ses actions dans le secteur de l'eau et assainissement.

AprĂšs quatre annĂ©es passĂ©es Ă  la tĂȘte de la commune de Banfora, le maire, Aboubakar Hema, s’est prĂȘtĂ© Ă  l’exercice de l’Association des Blogueurs du Burkina (ABB) pour faire son bilan de mise en Ɠuvre. C’était le samedi 12 septembre 2020, dans la salle de rĂ©union du gouvernorat des Cascades. L’activitĂ© a connu une participation massive des acteurs de la dite commune, qui n’ont pas manquĂ© d’exprimer leurs prĂ©occupations en ce qui concerne le niveau de la rĂ©alisation de l’ODD N°6 Ă  l’horizon 2030.

C’est au milieu de ses concitadins que le maire a prĂ©sentĂ© son bilan (Ph Com mairie)

C'est au milieu de ses concitadins que le maire a présenté son bilan (Ph Com mairie)

Plan Stratégique d'Approvisionnement en Eau Potable et d'Assainissement

DĂšs sa prise de fonction en 2016, le conseil municipal de Banfora a dĂ©fini trois axes stratĂ©giques de dĂ©veloppement. Il s'agit notamment de la promotion de la bonne gouvernance, du dĂ©veloppement de l'Ă©conomie locale et de l'amĂ©lioration de l'accĂšs de la population aux services sociaux de base. Lors de la prĂ©sentation de son bilan, quatre ans aprĂšs, le maire s’est logiquement appesanti sur ces trois piliers pour mettre en exergue des actions et rĂ©alisations qui font la fiertĂ© de la CitĂ© du paysan noir. Le dernier axe qui prend en compte l’accĂšs Ă  l’eau et Ă  l’assainissement, reprĂ©sente, selon le maire, une prioritĂ© pour la commune. La prĂ©occupation permanente du premier citoyen de Banfora, Ă©tant de procurer aux communautĂ©s de la commune qu’il dirige, l'accĂšs constant Ă  une eau salubre et propre ainsi qu’à un assainissement durable, afin d’amĂ©liorer leur bien-ĂȘtre gĂ©nĂ©ral.

«L’accĂšs Ă  l’eau  potable demeure une prĂ©occupation dans la commune de Banfora. L’hygiĂšne et l’assainissement aussi. Beaucoup de mĂ©nages n’ont pas de latrines. Certains font leurs besoins dans la nature. Ces cacas se retrouvent plus tard dans les eaux, ce qui peut provoquer beaucoup de maladies.» Des mots bien choisis par le maire de Banfora, Aboubakar Hema, pour traduire l’intĂ©rĂȘt que la commune accorde au secteur de l’eau et assainissement, et mettre l’accent sur l’urgence qu’il reprĂ©sente. Du reste, la commune de Banfora a Ă©laborĂ© son Plan StratĂ©gique d'Approvisionnement en Eau Potable et d'Assainissement (PSC AEPA), avec l’appui de l'IRC qui, pour la mise en Ɠuvre, a rĂ©uni tous les partenaires interagissant pour la mĂȘme cause ; partenaires sans lesquels, la rĂ©alisation de cet ambitieux projet serait une vue de l’esprit.

Avalanche de questions

La prĂ©sentation de ce bilan constituait donc une bonne tribune pour interroger l’édile de Banfora sur ses actions dans le secteur de l’eau et assainissement et principalement dans le cadre de la mise en Ɠuvre de ce Plan. A cet effet, le maire a Ă©tĂ© soumis Ă  une avalanche de questions, allant des actions concrĂštes de la mairie dans la mise en Ɠuvre du PSC AEPA durant la pĂ©riode Ă©coulĂ©e, Ă  la concordance ou non des types d’ouvrages d’accĂšs Ă  l’eau potable rĂ©alisĂ©s avec la vision et les engagements de la mairie, en passant par l’implication ou non des forces vives dans la mise en Ɠuvre du Plan et les avancĂ©es concrĂštes de ces actions par rapport Ă  la rĂ©alisation de l’ODD 6 dans la commune.

Mayor A. Hema

Aboubakar Hema a rendu compte de ses actions Ă  sa population (Ph Com mairie)

Des ouvrages

Abordant ces aspects, le maire a affirmĂ© que la commune a rĂ©alisĂ© comme actions, dans ce sens, plus de 45 forages avec une prĂ©vision de plus d'une trentaine en 2020, rĂ©habilitĂ© plus de 200 forages en panne, construit 472 latrines, 326 puisards douche et 17 puisards bac en 2019. A ces ouvrages, s’ajoutent 115 latrines rĂ©alisĂ©es de janvier 2020 Ă  mai 2020 et 30 nouvelles pompes Ă  motricitĂ© humaines (PMH) en cours de rĂ©alisation. M. Hema a complĂ©tĂ© la liste avec le dĂ©marrage de l’élaboration de la stratĂ©gie de communication, pour la mobilisation des partenaires et des fonds pour la mise en Ɠuvre du PSC AEPA. Selon lui, cette action Ă©pouse parfaitement la volontĂ© de la commune Ă  travailler en Ă©troite collaboration avec tous les partenaires et forces vives de la commune.

Le problĂšme d'eau

Cependant, plusieurs difficultĂ©s ont Ă©tĂ© soulevĂ©es, au titre desquelles, le manque d’eau au secteur 8 de la ville de Banfora, Ă  cause des travaux du 11-DĂ©cembre, la fĂȘte nationale, dont la commune accueille, cette annĂ©e, la commĂ©moration tournante. Dans cette partie de la commune, les populations souffrent le martyr, Ă  la recherche de « l’or bleu ». Le maire, au nom du conseil municipal, a rassurĂ© ses concitadins : « Ce n’est pas la faute de la mairie, ce problĂšme d’eau. Nous plaidons donc auprĂšs des autoritĂ©s en charge de la question eau, (direction rĂ©gionale de l’eau, Onea), pour qu’elles soulagent les populations de cette souffrance. » Le maire, promet, par ailleurs, la rĂ©alisation de 100 forages en 2021, dont 70 seront destinĂ©s aux mĂ©nages. Un atelier de forage a dĂ©jĂ  Ă©tĂ© acquis sur fonds de la mairie.

Le chemin reste encore bien long

De façon globale, le constat est flagrant, que les rĂ©alisations concernant les ouvrages d’accĂšs Ă  l’eau potable, se limitent aux forages Ă©quipĂ©s de pompe Ă  motricitĂ© humaine. Ces ouvrages ne garantissent pas l’accĂšs Ă  une eau sĂ»re, car, pouvant ĂȘtre contaminĂ©e plus rapidement avant la consommation, et n’éliminent pas non plus la corvĂ©e d’eau.  Ces situations sont donc en contradiction totale avec les engagements pris par la commune, selon lesquels 80% de la population consommerait de l’eau sĂ»re, soit par robinet Ă  la maison, soit Ă  la borne fontaine.  Il est donc Ă©vident que le chemin reste encore bien long, pour parvenir au mieux-ĂȘtre des populations, en matiĂšre d’eau et d’assainissement. Mais, assurant les uns et les autres que son engagement et sa dĂ©termination pour que l’eau et l’assainissement soient inscrits en lettres d’or dans son programme demeurent intacts, le maire de Banfora a lancĂ© un cri du cƓur Ă  l’endroit des acteurs du secteur, pour une collaboration efficace en vue de l’atteinte de ses objectifs. ParallĂšlement, IRC, Ă  travers son assistance technique avec l’appui financier de la Fondation Hilton, continuera aux cĂŽtĂ©s de la mairie, le combat pour que cet engagement soit effectif.

User's guide for the District Capacity Assessment Tool

September 24th 2020 at 11:50

Guideline for the District Capacity Assessment Tool, a tool developed to evaluate if a given institution has the required resources (financial and human) and if the working environment is enabled to ensure sustainable water service delivery.

Post-construction support to Akatsi North and South districts

September 3rd 2020 at 09:39
By: awumbei

Video stories of change from two Ghanaian districts as a result of post-construction interventions.

IRC Ghana has been providing post-construction support to Akatsi North and South Districts in the Volta Region of Ghana as part of the district system strengthening efforts. This intervention is a move towards professionalising the work of area mechanics and equipping them with the necessary skills to perform their tasks more effectively for improved water service delivery.

"In the light of long-term sustainability of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions, post-construction support is critical for continued maintenance and operation of rural water systems," IRC Ghana Country Director, Vida Duti noted.

Through IRC Ghana’s work in Akatsi North and South Districts under the Triple-S project, tools were developed in collaboration with the districts to support post-construction support for water facilities. IRC in collaboration with CWSA, worked with the districts to conduct service monitoring over three years. Following up on the previous work and to ensure that progress is being made to achieve the national target of full coverage by 2025 and the SDG of universal coverage by 2030, IRC Ghana has since 2017 provided the local authorities in the two districts with the tools and technical support to position them to lead in the process.

As part of the post-construction intervention in the two districts, the Akatsi South and North District Assemblies in collaboration with IRC Ghana organised a number of training workshops for area mechanics in the two districts to equip them with the skills and knowledge to undertake installation, uninstallation, repair and maintenance of various types of handpumps in the districts.

Earlier this year, the IRC Ghana documentation team visited selected communities in the two districts to collect and document stories of change and lessons emanating from the intervention. The visit to the two districts took place in February 2020, meeting community members, trained artisans, Water and Sanitation Management Team members and District Assembly staff including District Chief Executives in both districts, conducting community visits and interviews. The team was accompanied by staff of the District Assembly in both districts, helping the team in community entry and translations.

The following three short videos highlight the experiences of change in the lives of communities in the two districts as a result of the post-construction support intervention. They represent examples from real-life about how small but targeted interventions towards local system strengthening can make a difference in the lives of many communities in the districts.

These three short videos reflect the perspectives of the community members, area mechanics and the district authorities, respectively.

They trained us to repair the boreholes for the communities



When they collect revenue from the sale for water, it has most of the times been misapplied


It's government's responsibility to ensure communities have good source of water


Freshwater conservation and WASH advocacy strategy workshop facilitator's guide

August 12th 2020 at 12:14

This guide covers steps required for engaging effectively with decision-makers; increasing the impact beyond programmatic solutions; and influencing individuals, organisations, policies, regulations, and financing.

IRC and Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group Members, Conservation International and the Jane Goodall Institute, jointly developed the Freshwater Conservation and WASH Advocacy Strategy Workshop Facilitator's Guide because advocacy is a critical step in enabling integrated freshwater conservation-WASH management and must be closely tied to field-implementation of freshwater management strategies.

The target audience for this manual is development practitioners and advocates who desire a supportive policy environment for integrated freshwater conservation and WASH programming. The guide covers steps required for engaging effectively with decision-makers; increasing the impact beyond programmatic solutions; and influencing individuals, organisations, policies, regulations, and financing.

The Freshwater Conservation and WASH Advocacy Strategy Workshop Guide is comprised of five parts, the main Facilitator's Guide and 4 appendices:
1. Advocacy Strategy Workshop Facilitator's Guide
2. Appendix 1: Advocacy Strategy Workshop PowerPoint Presentation
3. Appendix 2: Country Context Presentation Template
4. Appendix 3: Facilitator Workbook
5. Appendix 4: Participant Workbook

The four-day workshop outlined in the guide is designed to introduce advocacy and provide the rationale for the important role advocacy and influencing play to advance freshwater conservation and WASH at national and sub-national level goals through changes in policies, budgets, and practices.
When using this guide, please use the suggested citation below. For questions about the methodology in the guide, please contact Elynn Walter (walter@ircwash.org) or Colleen Sorto (csorto@conservation.org).

Suggested Citation: Walter, E., Sorto, C., Edmond, J., Mercurio, S. and Rozenberg, E. 2020. Freshwater Conservation and WASH Advocacy Strategy Workshop: Facilitator's Guide. Washington, DC: Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group and IRC.

Launch of Good practice for WASH in Ghana booklet

August 5th 2020 at 09:15
By: awumbei

National Development Planning Commission - NDPC in collaboration with IRC and partners is disseminating the findings and is further engaging relevant stakeholders on the stories starting with the launch of the Good Practice for WASH in Ghana booklet.


launch of NDPC booklet

The Government of Ghana is committed to achieving access to safe water supply and water-related targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With about 10 years left until the 2030 deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda, there is an urgent need to identify innovative actions that can help fast-track the delivery of the SDGs.
The National Development Planning Commission in collaboration with IRC embarked on a project to collate and publish ongoing innovative interventions on water and sanitation from selected district assemblies; namely Wassa East, Bongo and Asutifi-North District. Fieldwork was carried out from 18th February to 4th March 2020 to ascertain, assess and interact with developers and beneficiaries of the selected WASH projects. The aim of the exercise was to collate and publish these innovative approaches and interventions for the purpose of sharing experiences and lessons learnt to institutions such as MDAs, MMDAs, private sector and CSOs. The main outputs for the exercise which include website publication on the WASH stories (at both NDPC and IRC websites) together with the final WASH document have been prepared.

As part of the way forward to these publications, the NDPC in collaboration with IRC and partners would disseminate the findings and further engage relevant stakeholders on the stories starting with the launch of the Good Practice for WASH in Ghana booklet.

The objective of the programme is to i) raise awareness on the ongoing strategic, innovative WASH interventions identified in the selected districts; ii) highlight major findings in the report; iii) generate further interaction with stakeholders; and iv) provide an opportunity to widen the scope of the interventions to unserved or underserved areas in the country to help attain the national and SDG targets on WASH. Due to the Covid-19 health pandemic, the launch event would be organised within one-and-half hours targeting WASH-related stakeholders and beyond.

Selected stakeholders are invited to join a face-to-face session whilst wider stakeholder participation will be via Microsoft link: Join Here. 

Programme brief

Time (Day1) Activity Responsibility
9:00 – 9:30 am Registration and Arrival of invited guests and the media NDPC
9:30 – 9:40 am Welcome Address Dr. Kojo Mensah Abrampah, Director-General, NDPC
9:40 – 10:00 am Brief Statements:
                 - Country Director, IRC Ghana
                 - Ministry of MWSR
                 - SDG ICC Coordinator
10:00 – 10:20 am Presentation: Water Stories and Sanitation Tales by NDPC
10:20 – 10:40 am Discussions: Participants
10:40 – 10:50 am Launch of the WASH Report Dr. Kojo Mensah Abrampah, Director-General, NDPC
10:50 – 11:00 am Wrap-up and next steps Dr. Felix Addo-Yobo
11:00 am Refreshment and Departure

Go back to overview page 

IRC Ghana and Latter-day Saints present COVID-19 relief items

June 11th 2020 at 15:43

Relief goods for 500 vulnerable and poor households affected by COVID-19 restrictions were handed over to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly. 

Relief items for poor families in Kumasi

On May 18, 2020 in Kumasi, IRC Ghana in partnership with the Latter-day Saint Charities in Ghana presented USD 25,000 worth of COVID-19 relief items to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA). The relief items are for onward distribution to 500 households in selected vulnerable communities of the Ashanti Region who have been most impacted socially and economically by the COVID-19 mitigation measures imposed by the Government of Ghana.  

Presentation of relief items

In a joint presentation to KMA, Abubakari Wumbei of IRC Ghana recalled that in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Ghana announced a series of measures for Ghana’s enhanced response to the pandemic, which included the imposition of a three-week partial lockdown in Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi. The directive, according to him affected social and economic life of people and incomes severely, especially for vulnerable and poor households with limited resources to support their their families with food and other essentials.

Mr Wumbei speaking at the handover of goods

Mr. Wumbei acknowledged that the Government through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the National Disaster Management Organisation and affected Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) embarked on measures to mitigate the effects of the lockdown on vulnerable populations, but the effort - including food rationing, was inadequate due to the large numbers within the affected cities.

“As a partner that works with Government and other development partners at the national and sub-national levels, IRC Ghana joined hands with the Latter-day Saint Charities in Ghana to work through KMA in supporting 500 affected vulnerable and poor households (approximately 2,500 people)  in the Kumasi Metropolitan area with USD 25,000 worth of relief items: 500 bags of rice (25kg), 104 boxes of canned fish, 83 boxes of vegetable cooking oil, 32 boxes with bars of soap, 35 cartons of carbolic soap and 104 boxes with cans of tomatoes,” Mr. Wumbei added.

He further noted that the COVID-19 experience has reaffirmed the relevance of WASH in the development paradigm and most of all the strong link between WASH and health that requires urgent attention of particularly Government; and that IRC will continue to build alliances to support Government to strengthen WASH systems for COVID-19 emergency response and beyond.

President of the Kumasi Bantama Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mr. Samuel Appiah

On his part, the President of the Kumasi Bantama Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mr. Samuel Appiah, said the donation was indeed to complement the government’s effort in supporting the needy and vulnerable who were affected by the COVID-19 situation. He said the pandemic had brought untold hardships to many people, especially the vulnerable, and added: “As a church, our aim is to seek the welfare of the poor and the needy, hence this collaborative gesture.”

IRC Ghana and Latter-day Saints teams then joined hands in presenting the detailed list of the relief items to the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Mr. Osei Assibey Antwi.

Timely support as families urgently need food

The Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Kumasi, Mr. Osei Assibey Antwi, who received the items thanked the two organisations on behalf of his team and the affected beneficiary households, stating that the support was timely as a lot of people are yearning for food to feed their families due to the COVID-19 restrictions that affected the area.

Mr. Osei Assibey Antwi, Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Kumasi

He commended IRC for the great support over the years, “they were at the forefront of a nationwide MMDA sanitation contest that ended last year where KMA came up tops and was awarded GBP 400,000; and today they are here again, this time with the Latter-day Saint Charities brought on board at a time this support is most needed.”

The MCE said that the collaboration needs to be further strengthened as IRC’s expertise in WASH was crucial in the management of the pandemic since most of the protocols of COVID-19 are water, sanitation and hygiene related.

The Metropolitan Director of Social Welfare and Community Development and the lead person in-charge of the onward distribution of the relief items, Esther Apraku Nyako expressed her excitement and appreciation for the donation. “I'm excited because this is one of the biggest non-governmental donations of food items we have seen so far since the COVID lockdown and we really appreciate it.” She explained that the 500 target beneficiary households include widows, persons with a disability, the aged and those on the livelihood empowerment against poverty (LEAP) programme; and that each household will receive 1 bag of rice (25kg), cooking oil (2 litres), canned fish (5 pieces of 400g), tomato paste (5 pieces of 400g), 1 long bar of soap and 5 pieces of carbolic soap.

Present at the donation ceremony were the KMA team led by the MCE and Metropolitan Coordinating Director, representatives of IRC Ghana and Latter-day Saint Charities, and members of the media.

Uganda: IRC supports COVID-19 response

June 4th 2020 at 13:42
By: Watsisi

In Kabarole District IRC's support is driven by strengthening WASH in healthcare facilities.

Provision of personal protective equipment

On 21 March 2020, Uganda had its first confirmed case of COVID-19. This was followed two days later by eight more. Prior to that, on 18 March, the President addressed the nation on COVID-19 and outlined the guidelines on preventative measures. 

The Government of Uganda has established a number of structures to coordinate various COVID-19 response activities. These include:

  1. A multi-sectoral and inter-ministerial National COVID-19 Response Team headed by the Prime Minister. The Response Team has various subcommittees including the WASH subcommittee.
  2. At district level, all districts have established District and Sub County COVID-19 Task Teams with different response subcommittees.
  3. Inter-Agency Joint Task Force established by Uganda’s National Security Council to support the Ministry of Health. It is led by the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces and comprised of the Uganda Police Force, Uganda Prison Services, National Joint Intelligence Committee, Immigration and Customs, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, UMEME (Electricity utility) and Kampala City Council Authority. 
Guidelines, operating procedures, information materials 

The Ministry of Health has published and disseminated key COVID-19 information materials including a fact sheet, a poster and guidelines for prevention of COVID-19 in public places (banks, offices, shopping malls, restaurants, markets). Other ministries including the Ministry of Water and Environment have also issued their guidelines. The Government established a call centre and a COVID-19 Information Portal with a real-time database.

A summary of the national and Kabarole District COVID-19 situation as of 31 May 2020:


  • Confirmed cases - 457
  • Active cases - 283
  • Samples tested - 84,576
  • Recoveries - 72
  • High risk travellers - 1,550


  • Alerts- 177
  • Suspected cases- 61
  • Total community and suspected case samples taken- 1,629
  • Confirmed case-01
  • Institutional quarantine-26
District/regional government priorities, needs and response

Following the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case in Uganda, Kabarole District Health Office constituted a District COVID-19 Response Task Team concerned with surveillance, response and mitigation against the spread of the disease. This is headed by the District Health Office and is part of the overall District COVID-19 task force. The task force developed a detailed Preparedness and Response Plan and Budget which was widely shared with all stakeholders in the district, including IRC. This was used to raise financial and material support in the district in addition to funding provided by the Ministry of Health. 

Kabarole’s focus is towards risk communication, surveillance, infection prevention and control, transport for frontline health workers, information education communication (IEC) materials and personal protection equipment (PPE). IRC agreed to contribute towards the key areas and participate as a member in the COVID-19 infection prevention and control (IPC) team albeit virtually and on the phone. 

IRC contributions in Kabarole District

IRC Uganda has supported Kabarole District’s efforts in the prevention and mitigation of the virus in the following ways:

  • Contribution to conducting IPC drills in healthcare facilities (HCFs) for healthcare workers and cleaning staff. The interventions are based on training of trainers (ToT) conducted last year for District IPC team. IRC Uganda has used the experience gained by being part of the IPC team for Ebola preparedness in 2019. Each HCF has an IPC focal person in an IPC committee that was trained to conduct COVID-19 IPC drills in 54 healthcare facilities. IPC and WASH in healthcare facilities often overlap, for instance on hand hygiene, medical PPE, environmental cleanliness, and healthcare waste management.
  • Eight radio programmes on Jubilee FM and Voice of Tooro (VOT) for risk management communication. The major focus was on providing facts about COVID-19 and dispelling the myths that were undermining government sensitisation of communities about the disease. The radio programmes were facilitated by the District Health Team and members of the Kabarole District WASH Task Team who emphasised the WASH component in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
  • Personal protective equipment including disposable gloves, aprons and face masks. The major objective was to keep the health workers motivated to continue working, knowing they are safe from contracting the disease. And at the same time, reducing the chances of healthcare workers transmitting COVID-19 and other nosocomial diseases. PPEs were also important for practical IPC drills.
  • Renovation of eight latrines in health centres was another contribution IRC made towards the district response to COVID-19. Assessments had been done on 21 latrines in government HCFs that needed renovation to ensure the latrines are usable and reduce the current latrine deficit. Eight were prioritised and have since been renovated. The renovation involved pit emptying, fixing doors and handwashing facilities, making floors and adding sato pans. The District Water Officer, as senior district engineer, and the District Health Inspector have been focal persons in ensuring latrine standards are met.
  • IRC is committed to building WASH systems resilient enough to address even these global health challenges. It builds on earlier interventions to improve WASH in healthcare facilities in Kabarole by addressing the numerous gaps identified.
Renovation of sanitation facilities in health centres in Kabarole

Part of the low cost but high impact interventions that will be carried out by IRC to improve WASH in HCFs are based on the 2018 WASH in Healthcare Facilities Assessment Report. Latrines were not only inadequate in HCFs, but existing structures fell below standards of safety, privacy and convenience to the user. They were not washable, had cracked floors and most were nearly full. IRC contracted KAHASA (Kabarole Hand Pump Mechanics Association) to do renovations with a double benefit of improving WASH in HCFs and also further building capacity of the Hand Pump Mechanics Association to provide operation and maintenance of water and sanitation services.

KAHASA working on curtain wall of latrines at a health centre (IRC Uganda)

What has been achieved in Kabarole

These rather low-cost interventions have had a great impact on Kabarole District’s response to and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19. By 31 May 2020:

  • 126 radio talks shows have been held on local FM stations for risk communication management involving healthcare workers and influencers. These have been supported by the office of the Resident District Commissioner, UNICEF, IRC and Amref. 24 TV talk shows on NBS and King TV and 10 spot messages on prevention were offered by KRC radio. In addition, 43 Mobile van and megaphone risk communication days have been conducted mainly targeting market centres. The funding for these activities coming from IRC, Marie Stopes and HEWASA.
  • Of the five infection prevention and control steps issued by the Ministry of Health, four are related to WASH. So far 156 sessions of IPC drills have been conducted in 54 HCFs by the District Health Team supported by IRC.
  • Other outputs include: 57 routine sensitisations targeting trading centres, markets and hotels; 31 Sub County Task Forces created, oriented and trained. Follow up with volunteers and supporting their efforts in community mobilisation and sensitisation headed by the District Chairperson and with support from organisations like HEWASA, DHT, JESE, Amref, IRC and Baylor and 1512 IEC materials distributed such as information charts on COVID-19, handwashing and hand rub guides have been distributed to the communities.
  • The District COVID-19 Task Force has been active in ensuring health services are delivered. During the lockdown, 570 health emergencies (deliveries mainly) were responded to.
Investing in WASH in healthcare facilities is essential

These interventions have so far provided significant outcomes for Kabarole, marking a progressive response and mitigation against the spread of the virus. All healthcare facilities and healthcare workers in Kabarole have remained active and motivated. All Kabarole markets were able to maintain the standard operating procedures and none were closed by authorities during the lockdown compared to other parts of the country. There has been increased interest of the district in addressing WASH in HCFs. Extension of piped water in Kasenda and Kabende has targeted the HCFs. District decision makers take more note from the Health Team. There is also increased adoption of handwashing practice and gradually entrenching behaviour.

Moving forward, IRC would like to see strengthening of WASH in HCFs in Kabarole District. Therefore, immediate attention will be on advocacy and lobbying for increased interest and investment for WASH in HCFs; capacity development of the District Health Officer and ensuring adequate linkages with other key sectors like the water department.

Organising the availability of IPC materials (chlorine  dispenser, sanitisers, handwashing with soap, alcohol-based hand sanitiser) and access to safe clean water with the district water department, utility companies  and WASH partner organisations like Amref, PATH, HEWASA and the Infectious Diseases Institute among others. IRC will continue building a more sustainable medical waste management system in Kabarole (contributing to one or two centrally located incinerators and collection systems in the district).

In conclusion, significant lessons can be learned here. Having a strong WASH system prepares organisations, districts and nations to address even these global health challenges. Interventions in WASH in HCFs are ‘no regret’ investments as their impact is far reaching especially as it results in improved healthcare outcomes. And lastly, WASH is pivotal in IPC and primary health care. It is important that we demonstrate this to countries and donors.


Regional Water and Environment Week 2020 in Kabarole District

May 11th 2020 at 14:38
By: biira

This report highlights the activities of the 2020 Regional Water and Environment Week which included among others clean-up exercises, home improvement campaigns and public dialogue.

CSOs, religious leaders, Uganda police defence force and members of the public join in the clean-up exercise

Uganda Water and Environment Week (UWEWK) is a weeklong event that is organised annually by the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) through the Water Resources Institute (WRI). Since its inception in 2018, the event seeks to contribute towards the attainment of sustainable socioeconomic transformation in achieving the Ugandan National Development Plan and vision. Based on the success of the 2019 Water Week, the Ministry organised the Second Albertine Regional Water and Environment Week in Kabarole District from Monday 16 March to Friday 20 March 2020 by bringing together stakeholders to enhance multi-partner collaboration, create public awareness, sensitisation and learning on water resources, environment and climate change. The overall theme of UWEWK 2020 was water and environment resources for inclusive-growth, employment and wealth creation. 

Within the Rwenzori region the Albert Water Management Zone conducted preparatory meetings for partners to identify different activities that will encourage community participation. These activities include clean-up exercises, promotion of good sanitation and hygiene by conducting home improvement campaigns, school debates, promotion of tree planting in schools, exhibitions of new innovations in water and environment and public dialogue. This year’s event attracted several partners namely; IRC, CARITAS-HEWASA, Water For People, National Water, Kyaninga Child Development Centre, Tooro Botanical Gardens, Tooro Kingdom, PROTOS, members of the private sector, politicians, community and government agencies. 

Of the above activities, IRC Uganda focused and led the home improvement campaigns and clean-up exercises in Karangura  subcounty and Fort Portal municipality in a bid to bring to light issues of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and WASH as one of the areas of focus in the Kabarole District WASH Master Plan to achieve sustainable WASH services for all. Considering strengthening local systems, IRC works with established structures such as; Kabarole District WASH Task Team, local government, Catchment Management Committee (CMC), the Cultural Institution and the municipality at all levels in IWRM. The Regional Water and Environment Week is an opportunity for the WASH Task Team to learn more about the relationship between WASH and IWRM, in order to increase their knowledge and ably engage with the community to identify local solutions on issues around IWRM.

These activities bore fruit as local council chairpersons formed a task force to have households in their respective villages cluster into groups to increase the number of latrines and usage thereof in Karangura subcounty. And to organise the Health Assistants and Village Health Teams to enforce the by-law of penalising those who defecate in the river and its tributaries. In Fort Portal Municipality, leaders were urged to involve the private sector and business community since their activities pollute the environment the most.

Report of Regional Water and Environment Week held in Kabarole District and led by Albert Water Management zone 16 - 18 March 2020

May 11th 2020 at 14:22

A multi-partner collaboration to create public awareness, sensitisation and learning on water resources, environment and the link between WASH and integrated water resources management (IWRM).

Uganda Water and Environment Week (UWEWK) is a weeklong event that is organised annually by the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) through the Water Resources Institute (WRI). Since its inception in 2018, the event seeks to contribute towards the attainment of sustainable socio-economic transformation in achieving the Ugandan National Development Plan and vision. It provides an opportunity between sector actors and other stakeholders for knowledge exchange, dialoguing, learning for improvement of Uganda’s water and environment resources.  Based on the success of the 2019 Water Week, the MWE held the second one in Kabarole District from Monday 16 March to Friday 20 March 2020. The zone enhanced a multi-partner collaboration to create public awareness, sensitisation and learning on water resources, environment and climate change.