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Before yesterdayIRC Water

[Presentation] Utility-managed rural water services: models, pathways, drivers, performance and areas for support

1 November 2021 at 17:11

Presentation given WEDC 2021



In September, the main findings were presented at the WEDC conference 2021. The recorded ppt (10 min) gives a good overview of the main highlights on"Utility-managed rural water services". Based on an exploration of some 33 different models of utility-managed rural water supply, the paper explores different pathways towards "utilitisation" of rural water supply, the opportunities and challenges related to this, and the possible areas of support.

Dissemination meeting on SWS learning partnership in Afar Region

7 October 2021 at 14:56
By: tsegaye

USAID Sustainable WASH Systems learning partnership project (SWS) conducted a document dissemination event in Afar region.

For the past five years (2017 – 2021) the SWS project has been working with Afar Region Water, Irrigation and Energy Bureau and Mille Woreda government and other actors to ensure effective WASH services access to everyone in the woreda. The project has been facilitating learning alliances as an entry point for collective action and to understand WASH service delivery systems, strengthening water infrastructure asset management systems and maintenance arrangement and develop a master plan which is targeted to deliver sustainable and improved WASH services to everyone by 2030.

SWS has been collaborating with USAID Lowland WASH activities during the implementation in Afar region.

In the event conducted on September 20, 2021, in the capital of Afar region, Semera, the discussants iterated that to create a robust and sustainable WASH system, all WASH sector actors from the woreda up to the region should be responsible and they should use the learnings and documents developed in the learning partnership so far. It is also suggested to expand the Mille Woreda's experience to other woredas of the region.

The dissemination event discussed the outcomes and learnings, and the documents developed during the project period are disseminated to the woreda WASH sector offices and the regional bureaus. The project published 11 learning alliance meeting reports, the Mille Woreda Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) WASH master plan, a briefing note on real – time monitoring for improved water services in the Ethiopian lowlands, a learning paper on Afar asset management system uptake and use, a research report on a local systems analysis for rural water service delivery in South Ari (SNNPR) and Mile (Afar), and a resource mobilisation and implementation strategy for the woreda’s SDG WASH master plan.

Major activities and the way forward

In its journey, the project has been supporting and strengthening Mille Woreda WASH monitoring systems, the establishment and facilitation of learning alliances, asset management and maintenance, long-term planning (district WASH master plan), institutional and human capacity building, and the knowledge management and documentation process.

In supporting the WASH monitoring system, the project has been developing and working on customisation of a WASH monitoring system, updating the system, and supplying computers and smart phones for monitoring.

To leverage maintenance and infrastructure management, the partnership has been promoting innovations in this field. The project also capacitated the woreda to develop a long-term plan, the SDG master plan, and to implement a financial plan and resource mobilisation strategy.

Institutional capacity building support was focused on training regional and woreda staff on monitoring, specifically on data collection, use and updating the system. Training on water scheme management and maintenance, WASH long-term planning (with coaching), and trainings and follow-up support on rural water supply for woredas, WASHCOs and caretakers were also major activities.

Regarding knowledge management, the main activities were capturing quarterly learning alliance meetings in reports, and documentation of practices such as monitoring, maintenance and long-term planning.

To sustain the progress so far, the discussion suggested continuing to utilise a regional asset management system, encouraging all WASH development partners working in the region to support and use the asset management system, continuing to implement Mille Woreda’s WASH SDG master plan, with the support of development partners, and persisting in facilitating the learning alliance meetings of the woreda.

Closing event on local television

The event was featured on local television:


Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation : synthesis report

5 October 2021 at 16:47

Indian local government institutions responsible for rural water and sanitation services need long-term support. A summary of a thematic discussion and webinar.

Indian Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) - local government units - have been assigned the responsibility for executing rural water and sanitation. To do this successfully as equal partners with the government and engineers, they need a lot of support over the long term. The government and NGOs who will support them have important roles to play to ensure quality water and sanitation services are provided in the long term in an an equitable manner.

This report is a synthesis of a SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion, which took place from 2 February-10 March 2021 and a follow-up webinar the chapter co-organised with IRC, India Sanitation Coalition and Water For People India and IRC on 4 March 2021.

Kabarole District WASH Asset and Service Level Analysis Report 2019

30 August 2021 at 09:56

IRC Uganda is committed to supporting Kabarole District to reach universal WASH coverage by 2030 through strengthening the district level capacity for coordination and planning towards rural WASH service improvement. A major component of this is building the capacity for WASH service level and asset monitoring to track progress towards WASH targets. With funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (CNHF) and Watershed programmes, IRC Uganda supported Kabarole District Local Government to undertake WASH asset and service level analysis in July and August 2019, done in a participatory manner aimed to build capacity and momentum for master plan implementation. This work is also supportive of a third programme in Kabarole, the Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership, under which a learning alliance is being supported to motivate collective action and build capacity in the district.

The study adopted a mixed approach of qualitative and quantitative techniques in order to provide more comprehensive findings. This involved a census of all water sources in the District and WASH assets in schools. A representative set of household surveys were used to obtain information about the use and access of services by residents. Key Informant discussions were held with Local Government stakeholders and communities, including a village survey to identify unserved villages and interviews with caretakers at all water points. Biological and physio-chemical water quality tests were undertaken on 80 water sources.

Market-based sanitation in the Ethiopian context

23 August 2021 at 13:03
By: tsegaye

Sanitation based marketing

Some key changes in the enabling environment could lead to significant growth in the sanitation market.

Ethiopia is working to address sanitation and hygiene challenges through market-based sanitation. The stakes are high as poor sanitation and hygiene are leading causes of illness. According to the second Health Sector Transformation Plan of Ethiopia, the country aims to drastically reduce sanitation-related illnesses by increasing the proportion of households with access to a basic sanitation service from 20% in 2019 to 60% in 2025. Ethiopia plans to achieve these goals through market-based sanitation, a development approach in which a sustainable marketplace provides reliable sanitation goods and services to consumers and creates viable business opportunities for suppliers.

These efforts have already begun in earnest. The country’s Market-Based Sanitation Implementation Guideline, which was developed by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with development partners, provides a framework for building and expanding market-based sanitation.

What is Market-Based Sanitation?

As stated in the Market-Based Sanitation Implementation Guideline, ‘’Market-based sanitation is a sanitation market whereby the household fully pays at once or through installments to the supplier for the preferred/desired basic sanitation and hygiene products and/or services.’’ Because the market will not work without attractive and profitable business opportunities for suppliers, creating a favourable environment for private-sector enterprises and consumers to conduct business through supportive regulations and policies is a critically important piece to implementing market-based sanitation. This is known as the “enabling environment”.


According to USAID Transform WASH research conducted on Ethiopia’s WASH business climate, businesses offering sanitation products and services in the country face a multitude of challenges resulting from a poor enabling environment. These include access to foreign exchange, tax and tariff rates, intellectual property protection, business registration, and start-up requirements, import challenges, uncertain demand, and business and consumer financing. Lack of access to foreign exchange impedes importation of sanitation products and manufacturing inputs while taxes and tariffs levied on sanitation products increase the price of sanitation products and services, reducing affordability and customer willingness to pay.  Challenges related to intellectual property rights, business start-up requirements, business registration, and uncertain demand discourage emerging businesses. Transform WASH's study examining the introduction of new sanitation products into the Ethiopian market indicated that bringing innovative plastic sanitation products to the local market took nine months longer than was originally planned. Bureaucratic hurdles related to importation, customs, logistics, high and confusing duties, and risk-averse investment decisions of corporate leads created delays and reduced profitability.

Additionally, Transform WASH's study on the assessment of sanitation financing options for enterprises and households shows that local enterprises and consumers are facing financing challenges. Businesses that may wish to offer sanitation products and services lack the capital to purchase raw materials in bulk to use for the production process and marketing tasks. Loan products are hard to access because they carry high-interest rates, or there are no sanitation-focused financial products at all.

Suggested Solutions

Some key changes in the enabling environment could lead to significant growth in the sanitation market.

To make sanitation products and services affordable to all, the government of Ethiopia should exempt or reduce taxes and tariffs levied on sanitation products. Higher prices lower demand, placing additional economic burdens on poor households and reducing the profitability of businesses who wish to sell sanitation products.

Registering sanitation products as essential goods and including them in the priority items list would help solve challenges related to the scarcity of foreign exchange as such transactions receive priority status by sector and by good.

Building a favourable climate for emerging businesses by easing bureaucratic hurdles would enhance growth. There should be an environment in which businesses face fewer impending regulations and sluggish processes for business set-up.

Promoting household understanding of the value of sanitation products and why they should prioritise the improvement of their facilities will create demand for nearby products and services. To do this, Transform WASH experience and research shows that engaging health extension workers and women development army leaders in such promotion will yield positive results along with enhancing business marketing and sales skills.

Expanding financing options is critical for market-based sanitation as small businesses need more and better loan products to blossom. Providing sanitation-focused loans for businesses would enable them to produce, sell, and distribute sanitation products and services at a much greater scale.  Also, strengthening microfinance institutions and village saving and credit associations that provide sanitation loans to consumers would enhance the purchasing power of households. In addressing the poorest customers, smart and targeted subsidies will help address the biggest affordability challenges.

At a fundamental level, establishing a conducive climate for market-based sanitation, working on improving financing restrictions for the enterprises and households, lessening bureaucratic hiccups, and creating demand will change the game and allow Ethiopia to meet its goals. In improving financing restrictions, financial institutions and the regulatory body needs to understand the value of providing finance for market-based sanitation and improve their directives and policy.

About Transform WASH
USAID Transform WASH aims to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) outcomes in Ethiopia by increasing market access to and sustained use of a broader spectrum of affordable WASH products and services, with a substantial focus on sanitation.

Transform WASH achieves this by transforming the market for low-cost quality WASH products and services: stimulating demand at the community level, strengthening supply chains, and improving the enabling environment for a vibrant private market.

USAID Transform WASH is a USAID-funded activity implemented by PSI in collaboration with SNV, Plan International, and IRC WASH. The consortium is working closely with government agencies, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, the One WASH National Program, and regional and sub-regional governments.


Strengthening mutual accountability in partnerships for WASH. Pt 2: Summary of six country case studies

18 August 2021 at 17:44

More emphasis is needed on building and strengthening the work of multi-stakeholder platforms in WASH at the national level.

The Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership commissioned a two-part research report to inform the evolution and refinement of its Mutual Accountability Mechanism (MAM), a tool for partners to hold each other accountable for progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The first part looks at the concept of mutual accountability, as well as a literature review, interviews and investigation of partnerships beyond the WASH sector, whereas this second part is an empirical study of multi-stakeholder collaboration, accountability, MAM implementation and COVID-impacts in WASH in six selected SWA partner countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Kenya, Peru and Somalia.

The case studies reveal that many platforms are functioning poorly and therefore the report recommends strengthening WASH multi-stakeholder processes at the national level, as well as further developing the MAM. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a mixed impact on sector collaboration and accountability, highlighting the value of partnerships. New opportunities for improved sector collaboration have emerged, as well as opportunities to raise the profile of WASH and support COVID-19 prevention.


Strengthening mutual accountability in partnerships for WASH. Pt 1: Literature review and learning from other sectors

18 August 2021 at 16:55

Key elements, success factors, partnership processes, conducive national contexts and types of global partnerships, which can support an effective cycle of mutual accountability between stakeholders.

The Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership commissioned a two-part research report to inform the evolution and refinement of its Mutual Accountability Mechanism (MAM), a tool for partners to hold each other accountable for progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This first part looks at the concept of mutual accountability, as well as a literature review, interviews and investigation of partnerships beyond the WASH sector, whereas the second part is an empirical study of multi-stakeholder collaboration, accountability, MAM implementation and COVID-impacts in WASH in six selected SWA partner countries

The desk research in part 1 highlights the key elements, success factors, partnership processes, conducive national contexts and types of global partnerships, which can support an effective cycle of mutual accountability between stakeholders.

Scaling-up Sanitation and Hygiene in Kabarole

17 August 2021 at 09:30

In February and March 2021, home improvement campaigns were conducted in 49 villages of Mugusu and Kasenda sub-counties, and a monitoring exercise carried out in June-July to assess the levels of impact registered by the intervention.

Kabarole District Local Government and IRC have a collaborative commitment to improve WASH in two sub-counties per year, an initiative that started in 2020. Specifically focusing on SDG 6.2 target on sanitation and hygiene, intensive campaigns are carried out in two select sub-counties reaching every village and household with information on and skills to maintain good standards of sanitation and hygiene in their homes. Thus, in February and March 2021 the home improvement campaigns were conducted in 49 villages of Mugusu and Kasenda sub-counties, and a monitoring exercise carried out in June-July to assess the levels of impact registered by the intervention.

Working closely with leadership and government in Ethiopia on system strengthening in Negelle Arsi and Shashamane woredas

6 August 2021 at 15:25

Speaker in front of room facing two rows of people with back to camera

The 5-year (2018-2022) WASH SDG programme is under implementation in Ethiopia's Shashamane and Negelle Arsi woredas. The programme is financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands (DGIS) and implemented by Amref, Wetlands International (WI), Bole Baptist Biblical Church (BBBC), Akvo, and IRC WASH. It aims to increase access and sustainability of WASH services.

IRC WASH supports the two woredas and the programme on system strengthening activities like the development of master plans, facilitating woreda and national learning alliance platforms, budget tracking, advocacy, and knowledge management.

As part of this initiative, the WASH SDG programme supported the development of comprehensive WASH master plans for Negelle Arsi and Shashamane woredas as the WASH sector in Ethiopia does not have a comprehensive strategic plan to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) focusing on WASH.  

The master plans  aim for universal access to safe and sustainable WASH services for the entire population of the woredas by 2030. They are framed within the targets of SDG 6 and provide a strategy towards achieving the set visions and goals. The plans aim to strengthen the planning building block of the WASH system through the development of life-cycle costed woreda plans with the leadership of the government.  

This learning paper discusses previous planning in Ethiopia, the process of developing the two woreda WASH master plans, the tools used, and the learning and reflection from the process. Overall, despite the challenges, the planning process was a success. The woredas greatly improved their planning, collaborated across sectors to create comprehensive plans, and gained skills to continue the planning process in the future. Going forward it is recommended to work closely with leadership and other government bodies to gain buy-in and help increase understanding outside of the directly involved sectors and offices. Capacity building also needs to focus on broader capacity outside of the planning tools such as Excel skills and a deeper understanding of planning concepts. Finally, moving beyond planning to implementation, reporting and accountability will be essential to ensure that these plans are useful and further pursued. 

ANAM partners launch WASH services to hard-to-reach communities

4 August 2021 at 11:53
By: awumbei

This is the launch of the WASH for hard-to-reach households project. The team is visiting Bronyakrom, a hard-to-reach community that has been connected to a water point.

On July 06, 2021, in Bronyakrom, IRC in collaboration with the Asutifi North District Assembly and partners hosted the official sod-cutting ceremony for the WASH services to hard-to-reach communities project to mark the start of the initiative in the district.

Following the initial project activities including the selection of the hard-to-reach communities, work had started and the Bronyakrom royal event was to formally announce the initiative and showcase the construction of a new borehole facility to provide the community with access to water services.

Bronyakrom is a farming community with an estimated population of over 150 and is located about 8km away from Kenyasi, the district capital of the Asutifi North District. The community has no access to water services. For this reason, community members had to make about 1-hour round trip including queueing to access water in the next community.

With funding from the LDSC through IRC, World Vision International, an implementing partner of the project, drilled a productive well with a depth of 36 meters and a yield of 25 liters per minute. The tested water passed all the physicochemical and bacteriological parameters per WHO and Ghana Standard Authority guidelines. The borehole is yet to be fitted with a hand pump but has a well-constructed platform and a wastewater trough. The Water, Sanitation, and Management Team (WSMT) has been constituted to manage the facility. Team members have also been trained in facility management, revenue generation, records keeping, sanitation, and hygiene.

The chief and people of Bronyakrom gladly greeted the visiting IRC senior leadership team, the LDSC team, and the safe water strategy partners with traditional welcome songs.

This video gives highlights of the Bronyakrom sod-cutting event and impressions of the visiting team.


Getting water to Kabende subcounty, Uganda

27 July 2021 at 16:03
By: Grift


Balancing safe water needs, demands, and rights to water for the people of Kabende sub county, Kabarole district in Uganda.

This was a collaborative effort with Naomi Kabarungi. Thanks also to Jane Nabunnya Mulumba and Martin Watsisi for all their contributions and inputs and to Angela Huston and Tettje van Daalen for the review.

Every person in the world should have safe and adequate water for drinking, sanitation, and hygiene needs. Safe water is an essential human right and also a prerequisite for the realisation of other human rights (Resolution A/RES/64/292. United Nations General Assembly, July 2010). Thus, governments, service providers and other stakeholders have the duty to provide safe, clean, accessible, and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all. Kabende sub county in the north of Kabarole district in Western Uganda is home to over 12,000 people, and they too must not be excluded from accessing their rights to safe water and sanitation.

Kabende is one of the 20 sub counties that form Kabarole District Local Government and is home to more than three percent of Kabarole's population. They solely survive on subsistence farming and eke a living from supplying surplus maize and potatoes to the regional food markets. Like in many other rural areas in Uganda, the people in Kabende depend on seasonal rainfall for all their major water supply needs, including agriculture and domestic use.

Rainfall in Kabende is low and unreliable compared to other parts of Kabarole district. River Sogahi is the only source of water for the Kabende community. The river water is not only insufficient but also contaminated and unsafe for domestic use. Kabende is identified as one of the sub counties with the least access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services in the district. See Kabarole District WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) Master Plan 2018-2030.

But delivering sustainable WASH services is more than turning on a tap: it is becoming increasingly clear that water, sanitation, and hygiene services are delivered not only through infrastructure, but through an underlying support system that keeps infrastructure productive and efficient. This requires strong WASH systems at local and national levels, and collective action and change involving all the people who make up the system. Systems are the networks of people, organisations, institutions, and resources required to deliver sustainable WASH services.

Several bureaucratic, social, technical, and financial factors constantly interact and thus impact the service delivered. IRC supports this collective action through the 'Change Hub' by supporting learning alliances and local solutions while acting as a backbone to each partnership, and helping local leaders lead and coordinate partners, facilitate relationships, provide expertise and monitoring, help share learning and ensure continuous communication among partners. IRC supported Kabarole DLG (District Local Government) to prepare the WASH Master Plan for the district. The plan not only accentuated the glaring deficiencies in the least served areas such as Kabende but also helped the district elaborate its vision, identify opportunities, lay down an elaborate plan and determine the cost of achieving 100% coverage.

"The Kabarole District WASH Master Plan is a milestone, an artifact of a political and social process. Its development was also an intervention, one guided by our belief that such processes and products are essential tools in generating and binding political engagement and supporting collective action,"

Jane N. Mulumba, Country Director IRC Uganda.

A vision of universal access

IRC Uganda is a long-standing partner that continues to support Kabarole district to popularise and implement the plan towards the vision of access for all. The master plan among other strategies for action proposes private-public partnerships (PPP) to increase investment in, and delivery of WASH services, leaving no one behind. In 2019, IRC Uganda facilitated a PPP between Kabarole DLG, National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) and IRC, to extend a piped water system from Kijura Town Council to supply Kabende sub county beyond the semi-urban centre to the rural areas.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Waterloo Foundation have provided funds to IRC Uganda to support Kabarole DLG to implement the WASH master plan in three areas:

  1. Systematic sanitation improvement at the household level includes household sanitation improvement campaigns alongside the local government to ensure household sanitation service improvement across the sanitation ladder in two sub counties of Harugongo and Karangura.
  2. WASH in Health Care Facilities (HCFs) with a focus on access to water, hand hygiene and waste management including the installation of handwashing and drinking water stations in 15 HCFs and low-cost incinerators at selected high volume health care facilities.
  3. Access to safe water for the underserved including providing clean water to Kabende Sub County using a public-private partnership with the National Water and Sewerage Corporation, including the extension of water to two water stressed parishes of Masongora and Kasesenge and two HCFs (Kabende HCIII and Kasesenge HCII).
  4. Support the development of Town Sanitation Plans Towns Councils of Mugusu, Kijura, Kiko, Kasenda Town Councils
  5. Support COVID-19 Response interventions for Kabarole District Local Government including the provision of PPEs, renovation, and construction of sanitation facilities, provision of drinking water facilities, infection prevention and control and risk communication activities

Through a series of interviews with service providers, users, local leadership and the district technical team, we share some of the challenges and successes they have experienced in the work they have done.

Stories as told by - Engineer Basudde Bruno, the District Water Engineer for Kabarole, Michael Tumubwine, the NWSC Area Manager for Kijura Town Council in Kabarole District, Mary Nyangoma, a Nursing Assistant and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Focal Person at Kabende Health Centre III and James Katushabe, the local council chairperson of Kabende sub county (LCIII).

Where it all started...

Engineer Basudde Bruno
Engineer Basudde Bruno

I am Engineer Basudde Bruno, the District Water Engineer for Kabarole, whose area of authority covers Kabende. Kabende is one of the geographically water-stressed areas and suffered rebel insurgence of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the mid-1990s. I recall that between 2017 and 2018, the area experienced severe drought, which caused food insecurity and deaths in the community.

Government responded by introducing an irrigation scheme in Masongora village serviced by River Sogahi to ensure food security and enhance agricultural production in the area. While the agricultural investment was a priority under the circumstances, safe WASH services for the community remained a low priority.

People fetched dirty water from River Sogahi and used the irrigation water collected directly from the irrigation inlets to their gardens, rather than trek to and from the community boreholes that were far off. "Now they are giving us water for irrigation when we don't have water to drink", they lamented.

Scientific tests on the underground water resources showed presence of E. coli, meaning the water was unsafe for home consumption. There was an outbreak of disease like bilharzia. We realised that the cost of treating the water, and operation and maintenance would be an unsustainable venture for the district. Moreover, Kabende being a non-urban location, with a small population of isolated households that are not willing nor able to pay, was not a viable business for National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) to get them a piped water extension.

Kabarole District Headquarters
Kabarole District Headquarters

That is how the PPP with the DLG, NWSC and IRC came into place to undertake a phased project to cover the least served parishes in the district at a total budget of UGX 270m (USD 76,187.22). Kabarole DLG and IRC committed funds upfront. This was an initial budget of UGX 185M (approx. USD 5,000). IRC has so far supported with UGX 72M (approx. USD 19,200) and UGX 39M on the way for completion. In total IRC will spend about USD 30,000. This amount from IRC is for materials and installations, while NWSC committed technical resources for meeting the costs of labour and procurement, as well as lifetime operations and maintenance structures for the project. Masongora parish in Kabende, was the first beneficiary and is now equipped with a public water supply stand in the village centre. The water stand provides water at a highly subsidised cost of UGX 100 per jerrycan of 20 litres and is operated as a small business by a local community member who remits 60% to NWSC and retains profits of 40%.

We engaged and consulted with the community at the start of the project, and they confirmed the urgent need for safe water services. Other than the water fees, there have not been any complaints about the tap stand at Masongora but on priorities at household level where expenditure on water is considered too high in relation to other needs, and besides 'free' water was also available in the river. Even when we tell them that this water is contaminated, their typical response is. "Ahh, but we have been drinking this water since we were born."

Meeting the 30% water access/use target for the project is therefore a challenge amidst such community attitudes and priority spending at household level. When one looks at a person's income versus the cost of connecting the water, one will see that this person just does not know the benefits of access to safe water. There is a need to continue sensitisation so that people can appreciate the value and accept to pay, and therefore help the NWSC to provide a sustainable service.


Michael Tumubwine
Michael Tumubwine

My name is Michael Tumubwine, I am the NWSC Area Manager for Kijura Town Council in Kabarole District. National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) is the government entity mandated to provide water and sanitation services to urban centres, and our mission is 'to sustainably and equitably provide cost-effective quality water and sewerage services to the delight of all stakeholders while conserving the environment.' The NWSC operates a business model where the customer is king. The partnership with Kabarole District Local Government and IRC opened our eyes to the opportunity in Kabende, and we are happy to report that the Health Centre III and schools within the sub county have been good paying customers.

Through the partnership with Kabarole DLG and IRC, we have extended piped water to Masongora which though rural, is an agricultural business area with a population that can pay for a subsidised service. The need in Masongora has been huge. The only water available has come from the River Sogahi and is used for irrigation, but the community is still using it for drinking and cooking because it is free of charge.

We set up a public tap stand in the local centre in Masongora, and users pay only UGX 100 (USD 0.02) per jerrycan. It is much nearer than the stream (River Sogahi) and therefore people can save their time for productive work instead of collecting water.

However, we still have challenges with the population's mindset. Someone will say, "Since my birth I have been drinking water from this stream, so how can you convince me at my age not to?". Most believe that water should be for free and cannot understand why they should pay the minimal cost. They still prefer the "free" source which exposes them to infection and disease.

Together with the district and local leaders, we have continued to create awareness on the importance of using safe piped water. The statistics from Kabende Health Centre III show a decline in waterborne diseases which means we are making substantial progress. However, most of the users in the village have not yet adapted to automated payment systems such as mobile money and therefore do not pay their bills promptly. To mitigate the problem, we sometimes collect the money physically and pay this into the bank on behalf of the customers.

Kabende has shown the potential to provide good business for NWSC. The community interest in the piped water supply is increasing. For instance, they often ask; "It has been off for two days, what is the problem?", indicating that they need the service.

NWSC's key role is to extend clean, treated piped water coverage in the community, through standpipes and domestic connections eventually.

The PPP model is replicable in other areas and NWSC is in discussion with Kabarole DLG to extend water in the areas of Muhoire, Ntezzi, and Nyabusenyi 1 villages.

How is it working

Mary Nyangoma, I am 37 years old, and a Nursing Assistant and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC)
Mary Nyangoma

My name is Mary Nyangoma, I am 37 years old, and a Nursing Assistant and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Focal Person at Kabende Health Centre III. I have worked 9 years at this facility, and 14 years in public service.

About a year ago we did not have piped water at the health centre. We would send someone to collect a 20L jerrycan of water at UGX 1,000 (USD 0.28) in the dry season and UGX 500 (0.14 USD) in the rainy season. They would fetch it from the borehole about 5km uphill.

Since we got the NWSC piped supply water, the hygiene situation at Kabende HCIII has improved. The pressure is good, and it is clean water, at least to the eye. The tap is right here in the compound, even get as much water as possible before it closes again.

We do not have storage tanks. We can only fill the few jerrycans we have, and the handwashing cans (10L).

It is not possible to store enough when the supply is flowing; they release the water for a maximum of an hour, there is much demand and then it is also not planned. At times we still must send for water from the borehole – the same way we did when we had no piped water. Occasionally it comes when we have paid for water from the borehole, so people have lost interest.

It would be helpful if NWSC communicates the time when they plan to release water, then we would make schedules to fetch it. We do not have dedicated staff in charge of the water stock nor a budget for buying the water, so the task of collecting water is done voluntarily by cleaners, who also get tired and have other priorities. They get and ration their water according to their duty needs.

A health centre needs flowing water all the time. Both our staff and clients need water for handwashing at critical points, personal hygiene, and administering urgent medicine. We make our water safe for drinking by boiling or filtering. These activities are happening all the time; that means that every time the taps are dry, our staff and patients are exposed to risks of infection and delayed response to their health needs.

We have reached out to NWSC through our local leaders at the sub county office. They say that the water is rationed so that more people can be served in the community. I appreciate that, but I wish that the health centre would be given priority. Instead, they can regulate supply by giving reduced pressure on the water flow but keeping it consistently available on tap. It would help me stay focused on the core job to serve our customers.

The change due to water tap on the premises

Before we got the direct water supply to our compound, Kabende HCIII had an intake of about 75-100 cases of hygiene-related infections. Now it is as low as 20 and not more than 40. People wash their hands more regularly and the toilets are cleaned, with handwashing points at the entrance in compliance with COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures.

Without NWSC we spent UGX 6,000 (USD 1.70) to the water vendor for water collected per day. Complaints of diarrhoea and typhoid were common here at the Kabende Health Centre III, but the situation has improved. We think that if the water supply is consistent and is also extended to those communities far from the town where our clients come from, this would deter most infections caused using untreated and unsafe water.

The 'Voice' of the people of Kabende

James Katushabe
James Katushabe

My name is James Katushabe, and I was re-elected to the office at the beginning of 2021 as the local council chairperson of Kabende sub county (LCIII). People voted for me because of my passion for hygiene and sanitation in the community. I am not just a talker, I am a politician who also takes action. I was happy when the water reached Kabende in March 2020. However, there were complaints of inconsistent supply right from the start.

As a leader, I consulted NWSC, the service provider. I was told by the officials that 'the challenge was too much pressure caused by the gravitational force as the water slopes to Kabende, causing the pipes to burst time and again.' NWSC has fixed the problem with a 'brake pressure pump,' but this has resulted in them controlling the supply of the water, and only turning it on at their will. This has posed another problem for the people. The water is not readily available for convenient use by them. What is the point of investing in a project (the PPP) if people cannot have access to water all the time?

Water is essential for facilities such as the Kabende Health Centre III, Kabende Muslim Standard School with about 140 pupils and the Masongora Primary School with an enrolment of 283 pupils, especially in these days of the COVID pandemic. Yet the facilities still have to buy at a higher price from the water vendors who collect it from the far-off borehole.

The public tap stand at Masongora is good and the fee is affordable. But I want my people to be ambitious and ask for more because it is their right, and it is possible. My desire would be that at least in every household, there should be piped water in every home. As the community advances, households will have flush toilets, and better housing facilities. Water needs to be regular to attract such investments and improvements in the local community. I would love to stay in a place with a very good road and a good school for my children to attend.

A group of people fetching water from a well Description automatically generated with medium confidence. The demand and consumption of piped water is evident in Kabende. It is estimated that one hundred jerrycans are dispensed daily for domestic use (LC1 Chairman report). There is an urgent need to extend the service to water stressed areas such as Karuteete, one of the twenty-eight villages in Kabende sub county. There is a disconnect between the service providers and the political leaders. Users at the public tap stand, said they expected free water, because the politicians promised it if they voted for them. The community needs to be helped to understand that for the taps to flow for good, the source must be maintained, and this costs money.

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Renforcement des systèmes WASH : les bases

11 June 2021 at 14:58

Renfercement des systemes WASH

Pourquoi avons-nous besoin de renforcer les systèmes WASH ?

L'accès à l'eau, à l'assainissement et à l'hygiène constitue le fondement même d'une vie saine et digne. Il est essentiel pour améliorer la santé, l'éducation et les moyens de subsistance. Pourtant, dans le monde, 2,1 milliards de personnes n'ont pas accès à l'eau potable et 4,5 milliards de personnes n'ont pas accès à l'assainissement.

Pour garantir la pérennité des services WASH, il faut une réflexion globale et la mise en place de systèmes solides. Désormais, grâce aux cours en ligne gratuits de la WASH Systems Academy, chacun peut apprendre les bases de la fourniture de services d'eau et d'assainissement résilients et prendre part au changement nécessaire pour ne laisser personne de côté. Construisons ensemble des systèmes WASH solides.

Renforcement des systèmes WASH : les bases

Vous voulez tout savoir sur le renforcement des systèmes WASH ? Rejoignez le cours gratuit "Renforcement des systèmes WASH : les bases".

La WASH Systems Academy est une plateforme interactive développée pour aider les professionnels du secteur WASH à appliquer une approche de renforcement des systèmes WASH. Si vous êtes en début de carrière ou si vous êtes un expert senior du secteur WASH qui souhaite comprendre ce qu'est une approche de renforcement des systèmes et comment vous pouvez l'intégrer dans votre travail, ce cours en ligne gratuit est fait pour vous. Les systèmes WASH forts ne peuvent être construits qu'ensemble.

Voici comment créer votre compte

Objectifs du cours

Ce cours couvre les concepts de base du renforcement des systèmes WASH. Il s'agit de comprendre comment parvenir à une prestation de services WASH durable pour tous et comment fonctionner efficacement dans ce processus. Il vous aidera à comprendre l'approche du renforcement des systèmes WASH :

  • ce qu'il est
  • comment et pourquoi il a été développé
  • comment commencer à l'appliquer.

Chaque session a des objectifs d'apprentissage spécifiques qui sont décrits au début. A la fin du cours, vous aurez une bonne compréhension de l'approche de renforcement des systèmes WASH.

Aperçu des sessions

Le contenu de cette formation couvre les concepts de base du renforcement des systèmes WASH et est divisé en neuf sessions. La formation dure au minimum 16 heures et vous avez trois mois pour la terminer.

Après un an, l'accès au cours ne sera plus disponible.

Il est recommandé de suivre le cours en suivant toutes les sessions, dans l'ordre (par exemple, de la session 1 à la session 9). En cours de route, vous pourrez tester votre compréhension dans les trois tests à choix multiples et les deux quiz.

Le contenu du cours est le suivant :

  • Session 1 : Présentation de la WASH Systems Academy.
  • Session 2 : Des pompes cassées aux systèmes durables
  • Session 3 : Qu'est-ce que le renforcement des systèmes WASH ?
  • Session 4 : WASH est un service
  • Session 5 : Renforcement des systèmes d'assainissement
  • Session 6 : Promotion de l'hygiène pour le renforcement des systèmes WASH
  • Session 7 : Renforcement des systèmes WASH à l'extérieur de la maison
  • Session 8 : Ne laisser personne de côté
  • Session 9 : La feuille de route pour des services WASH durables
Travailler hors ligne

Vous pouvez télécharger les textes complets des sessions, y compris tous les exercices, via l'onglet ressources du cours. Cela vous permet de suivre une partie du cours hors ligne.

Cependant, vous devrez vous connecter à la plate-forme en ligne pour participer aux discussions du forum, télécharger les documents que vous créez et répondre aux tests à choix multiples et aux quiz.

Le certificat

Si vous réalisez toutes les activités de toutes les sessions et obtenez une note de 80 % ou plus aux trois tests à choix multiples et aux deux quiz, vous pouvez télécharger un certificat numérique de réussite à ajouter à votre profil LinkedIn ou Facebook.

Votre certificat indiquera votre note de cours ainsi que le nom figurant dans votre profil, la date d'achèvement et un code de vérification.

Achieving safely managed water services in Africa : unpacking the challenge

28 April 2021 at 17:06

The implications of the SDG 6.1 ambitions for national authorities and service providers, with a special focus on the progress so far in Ghana, Ethiopia and Uganda. Summary of an expert discussion convened by IRC for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

This briefing note summarises an expert discussion on the priorities and strategies for pursuing safely managed water services in Africa while leaving no-one behind, as embodied in Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6). In its 2021-2025 Safe Water Strategy, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation commits to bring safe water services to vulnerable populations in Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, and globally. The discussion, the third in the Safe Water Strategy E-Learning series, was convened by IRC for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation on 18 March 2021. The briefing note discusses the implications of the SDG 6 ambitions for national authorities and service providers, with a special focus on the progress so far in the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation's three focus countries. While basic water services are essential for those lacking services, the briefing note concludes that basic is not enough to deliver on the SDG 6 aspiration as it fails to achieve the full realisation of the human right to safe water.

Expert presenters at the discussion included Tom Slaymaker (JMP), Paul Orengoh (AMCOW), Catarina de Albuquerque (SWA), Kelebogile Khunou (SERI), Bruce Gordon (WHO), Siméon Kenfack (AFWA), Farai Tunhuma (UNICEF), Ranjiv Khush (Aquaya), Eng Joseph Eyatu (MWE) and Yaver Abidi (WSUP), Abiy Girma (OWNP, GoE), Zinash Kefale (WaterAid), Eng. Worlanyo Siabi (CWSA), Ing. Harold Esseku (WB).

ONEWASH Plus in Urban Areas in Ethiopia – Results from the First Phase

28 April 2021 at 11:02
By: Grift

The ONEWASH Plus Programme (first phase: 2013 to 2019) focused on WASH services in small towns, satellite villages and institutions (health facilities and schools) complements Ethiopia's One WASH National Programme (OWNP), which is led by the Government of Ethiopia. The ONEWASH Plus Programme aims to introduce, test and achieve proof of concept of innovative approaches in integrated WASH service delivery to deliver equitable, sustainable and resilient water, sanitation and hygiene services for all. On the basis of evidence, the programme aims to influence policy and to support the development of capacities at national level.

The ONEWASH Plus Programme (first phase: 2013 to 2019) focused on WASH services in small towns, satellite villages and institutions (health facilities and schools). It aimed to introduce and test innovative approaches and concepts to deliver equitable, sustainable and resilient water, sanitation and hygiene services in towns and satellite villages working in four regions of the country. This synthesis report summarizes learning from the first phase of the ONEWASH Plus Programme. Some of the concepts and approaches introduced proved to be effective and are ready to be advocated as best practice to be scaled through the OWNP. Others were found to be promising but needing further refinement. Lastly, for some new concepts and approaches, there remains inadequate data to draw conclusions at this stage.

ANAM Small Grant Opportunity for NGOs

23 April 2021 at 16:31
By: awumbei

Asutifi North District Assembly in collaboration with its partners have prepared a 13-year Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Master Plan. This is an initiative that seeks to promote universal access to safe water, basic sanitation, and hygiene services to about 84,420 people by the year 2030.

A strong local civil society is essential to improving WASH service delivery and sustaining the water resources. Within the WASH master plan, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have been identified to support WASH through allied action, advocacy, and engagement with the people to build popular support and transparency within the initiative.


The ANAM Small Grant Opportunity aims to support selected Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the Asutifi North District to develop advocacy initiatives in the following areas:

  • Sustaining behaviour changes in hand hygiene beyond COVID-19
  • Improving access to WASH services for vulnerable and excluded populations including people with disabilities
  • Reduce inequalities in the allocation of resources for WASH services
  • Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services and sustainable Water Resources Management (WRM)
  • Improving gender equity and social inclusion in WASH  

The grant will support selected NGOs to carry out public education and sensitisation in Asutifi North District to complement ongoing efforts by the ANAM partners to achieve universal WASH coverage.

Entry information

The ANAM Small Grant Opportunity is open to all registered NGOs operating in the Asutifi North District. To be considered in this grant, NGOs need to submit advocacy proposals on at least one of the above areas to be implemented in 2021 in Asutifi North District within a period of five (5) months starting in June 2021. Note that one proposal per focus area is allowed but applicants are free to submit more than one proposal. Please use the proposal format attached for the application (see downloads below).


The civil society organisation – NGO, CSO, etc. should be a body registered with the Government of Ghana and the Asutifi North District Assembly; and operating in the Asutifi North District of the Ahafo Region of Ghana. The activities will complement activities within the ANAM District full coverage initiative that started in 2018.

Grant information

Funds for this grant is from the Hilton Foundation, through IRC Ghana as part of the district-based initiative in collaboration with the ANAM partners.

The total grant sum is Fifty Thousand Ghana Cedis (50,000 GHS). The maximum grant per project/NGO will be Ten Thousand Ghana Cedis (10,000 GHS).


The selection and award of the grant will be done in May 2021 by a panel of judges with expertise in WASH service delivery and behaviour change communications. The assessment will consider the potential effectiveness of proposed campaigns - Awareness raising; Promotion of best practices; Strengthening local partnerships; Improved participation; Community action; Local innovation and Policy influencing.


If you have any questions, please do ask for help – Contact the help desk at IRC Ghana: Email: Ghana@ircwash.org or call: +233 (302) 797 473 /74 or ANAM toll free number: 0800304000. See further information on the initiative at www.anamwash.com 

Please Note – Submit Proposals (soft copies only) to Ghana@ircwash.org by May 15, 2021 at twelve midnight.



Coming soon: a master planning facility for WASH

19 April 2021 at 19:40

Ghana - Asutifi North district assembly and partners town hall meeting

Building new partnerships and setting clear goals to leverage investment.

Photo caption: Ghana - Asutifi North district assembly and partners town hall meeting / Jeremiah Atengdem, IRC Ghana

We’ve got much better in recent years, at both IRC and as a wider sector, acknowledging that too much infrastructure for rural water supply in Africa isn’t working. And recognising that too much of the water being consumed isn’t safe to drink. There are similar challenges in sanitation: far too many people stuck using poor quality and dirty latrines and too many overflowing pits.

Recognising our failures as well as our successes and seeing the chasm between where we stand now, and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is proving a force for change. There is more and more momentum behind the idea that we need to strengthen the systems that deliver services, that we need to focus on capacities rather than just infrastructure, and that it’s a mix of policies, partnerships, and people (and more) that can make universal access to services a reality.​

Political drive and collective action are essential to addressing the world’s hardest challenges, because success relies on many different people and organisations all delivering their part. That’s true now in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s true to delivering water services.

Master planning

At IRC one solution we have been testing to encourage change, and to do things differently to realise such ideas – systems approaches and collective action - is planning. Master planning is rather traditional for engineers but turns out to have been rather radical and effective in the districts where we work. We’ve been putting a lot of emphasis into building new partnerships around master plans and using them to leverage investment. Plans can be boring, and left unused on shelves, but we’ve found (with our partners such as the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Water For People, Oxfam, and the Millennium Water Alliance) that they can also be a force for change. In Banfora a new plan has been used to find USD 12 million in new investment in WASH, partly closing a USD 30 million financing gap in the district to achieve SDG 6.

Learn more about planning in the IRC WASH Academy Specialist course: Building blocks of sustainable WASH systems

Getting everyone that needs to be involved to buy into a common path focused on systems strengthening – with governments necessarily at the centre - isn’t easy. But a shared vision, backed up with goals and a plan can go a long way and delivers results. ​Over the past few years, we have been supporting planning processes in all our focus districts. Last year, 17 partner districts developed new plans across our 8 focus country programmes in low- and middle-income countries. These processes all look different, bending to the context, national planning processes and WASH sector ways of working, but each district WASH master plan sets out clear goals and plans for achieving SDG 6 in a district. We are using such plans to:

  1. Ensure no one is left behind: Master plans set out a vision and plans for serving everyone, everywhere, forever. ​
  2. Mix service delivery models: On their own, utility water supply, community management or self-supply don’t reach everyone forever. Reaching everyone in water supply means combining service delivery models, and over time changing the mix to achieve higher services levels and progressive improvements.​
  3. Take a holistic approach to WASH: The district plans address water, sanitation, and hygiene, both at household level as well as at extra household level, including schools and health care facilities.
  4. Focus on life-cycle costs of WASH service provision: District master plans present what it costs to achieve the vision of sustainable WASH services for all, forever in a district. This includes all life-cycle costs, including the costs of developing new WASH assets and all costs of operating, maintaining and renewing these over time, so they provide sustainable services.​
  5. Promote a systems approach: Infrastructure is failing and breaking down too often. Strong local systems set within national frameworks need to be in place. These include monitoring, regulatory, asset management, financial, planning, coordination systems. Strengthening these systems ensures that services are delivered, forever.​
  6. Create partnerships for funding and implementation: Joint planning helps creating partnerships that are needed to implement the plan. Good plans attract partners and the funding required to implement the plan. ​

Later this year, to scale the impact of master plans in partnership with national planning agencies, we will launch a new district WASH master planning facility in our focus countries including initially Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda. This will provide access to funding and technical assistance for more districts to develop master plans, and use them to leverage investments in WASH.

A guide to addressing Integrated Water Resource Management in implementation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs WASH strategy 2016-2030

19 April 2021 at 09:23

Conceptual frameworks and guiding questions that help identify opportunities to strengthen links between water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and integrated water resource management (IWRM) in various stages of the Ministry's s project cycle. 

A guiding document to addressing Integrated Water Resource Management in implementation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) WASH strategy 2016-2030. This document was developed by the Watershed, Empowering Citizens Strategic Partnership programme to provide the Ministry of Foreign Affairs guidance on linking Integrated Water Resource Management in implementing (IWRM) its WASH strategy 2016-2030. It builds on the policies of MFA and is combined with the knowledge and publications of the Watershed Programme (www.watershed.nl), and international literature.

Following the introductory chapter, chapter two gives the conceptual frameworks around WASH and WRM, and the linkages between them. The second chapter is intended mainly as a reference and is particularly useful for colleagues who are less familiar with the intrinsic aspects of WASH. Readers who are well versed in the sector, may decide to go straight to chapter three. 

Chapter three is the essence of this document and contains guiding questions that help identify opportunities to strengthen links with IWRM processes in various stages of the MFA project cycle. Each of a project’s steps (such as the proposal phase, inception phase etc.) is briefly discussed, questions posed and points of attention identified. It is not the intention of this document to provide exhaustive checklists of everything that needs to be done everywhere. Instead, it recognises that there is no one-size fits all, and it hopes that the process outlined will help identify the priority areas to address. 
This document builds on the policies of MFA and is combined with the knowledge and publications of the Watershed Programme (www.watershed.nl), and international literature.



We have a district WASH master plan: now what?

1 April 2021 at 11:42
By: brunson

"The master plan provides a strategic tool in bringing all sector actors together around a singular objective." - Magdalene Matthews, Senior Program Officer, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

As the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector seeks to support progress quickly towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), several beneficial tools have been developed to foster progress. One is to develop Master Plans that provide a roadmap for how a set of partners; including government, NGOs, private sector, donors, and other stakeholders; can provide their contributions and move together towards a shared vision. Developing this type of collaborative, detailed, and long-term plan for an entire district is an accomplishment to be celebrated; indeed, the celebration itself often serves as an influencing and partnership development opportunity. To date, at least four countries [Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda] have master plans leading to 2030, but when the launching celebration is over we are left with the question – now what?

A learning event on February 19, 2021, convened by IRC and Millennium Water Alliance with the topic, “The art of master planning and leveraging strategic partnerships” suggested the answer to this question is: Use the master plan – creatively and consistently as there is no perfect linear path.

The initial thinking behind the development of master plans was that if you have a fully costed plan for how to achieve SDG 6 targets across a district, the plan will do two things: 1. Provide a point of entry to utilise methods beyond ‘business as usual’ and push the sector toward systems approaches and 2. Serve as a roadmap to be shared with funders which would result in full funding to achieve the plan. The reality of course is always messier than the initial thinking (see this document to learn more about the messiness of an envisioned planning process versus reality). Once the master plans were finished, next steps were murkier than hoped and new funding did not immediately appear.

But one district provides an example of how to figure out what comes next and make it happen. The learning session featured Juste Nansi, Country Director for IRC Burkina Faso. Juste presented the creative efforts of the Mayor and other stakeholders of Banfora District in Burkina Faso to work creatively to reach out to a multitude of potential stakeholders. The developed master plan identified a finance gap (difference between available funds and funds needed to implement the master plan) of 30.4 million USD. Once the plan was developed the Mayor of Banfora took up the mantle and went to anyone and everyone to find creative sources of funding to get to full coverage.  Funding partners included:

  • Communities via tariffs and household investments
  • Local businesses (e.g. bakeries, hotels, restaurants, trades people, materials suppliers)
  • Diaspora communities living in other areas of Burkina Faso and abroad
  • National water utility
  • Central government
  • International NGOs and donors.

District WASH master plans from Banfora, Kabarole, Asutifi North, and Beregadougou.

The Mayor also used the master plan to advocate to the national water utility and the national government to provide more funding and support to show great progress for water in Banfora. One way the district jump-started these efforts was to host a major launch ceremony for the finalised master plan. This event was chaired by a National State Minister who made a significant public commitment to the plan and funding during the ceremony. These efforts have been successful in leveraging 12.5 million USD in increased funding to support the implementation of the master plan. The Mayor of Banfora has continued to utilise public events to raise awareness of the master plan and to advocate for more funding and partnerships. This has been so successful that national media have been reporting on the progress of the master plan in Banfora. Finally, the Mayor developed a Master Plan Investor’s Platform where information related to planning, reporting, and learning is shared regularly with contributors to the plan.

The efforts in Banfora to obtain the funding to implement the master plan required not just using the plan to ask for money but also intensive efforts to build and strengthen partnerships with multiple sectors, including new actors who were not previously involved in funding WASH.   

Following these insights from Juste three other experts including Jane Nabunnya, IRC Uganda Country Director; Abiy Girma, Head of National One WASH Coordination Office, Ethiopia; James Ata-Era, Asutifi North District Planning Officer, Ghana, provided their reflections on the use of the master plan in Banfora and what they have seen in their own countries and districts.

One of the most interesting aspects of the learning session was the similarities that emerged from all four country situations. All four identified that:

  1. Understanding where resources (money and in-kind support) come from is an important step.
  2. Local government leadership (ownership) of development, use, and implementation of the plan is critically important.
  3. Government has a critical role in coordinating the roles and contributions of each partner.
  4. Partnerships are required if you expect to get far in funding and implementing the master plan.

The audience was very engaged throughout the presentations and discussion. Insightful questions were raised both by the panellists for each other and by the audience. Select questions included:

  • If you raise all the money to implement the master plans – does the district have the adsorption capacity to fully utilise the resources? 
  • How would the options and progress be different if the baseline coverage rates were much lower and the finance required much higher as a starting point for this work? Would as much progress be possible if the starting point was even more challenging?
  • Is it possible to suggest what funding and partnerships were made available due to the master plan versus what might have been obtained regardless?
  • What are ideas and suggestions for how to build on the work done thus far to scale the use of master plan development as a nation-wide practice?
  • Is this a zero-sum process whereby new funds coming into this district means funding to another district has to decrease?

Many of these questions do not currently have simple answers and it remains up to all stakeholders working in water to continue innovating and piloting new systems approaches to push our collective learning forward.

To conclude the session Magdalene Matthews of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation shared that while the master plans are an excellent resource, the process of developing the plans is just as important in the way it brings stakeholders together to coalesce around a shared vision for how to address challenges in a district. The Hilton Foundation wants to continue providing support in ways that are aligned with local and national government priorities and focused on system strengthening approaches that should result in high-performing districts that can serve as demonstration districts to promote scale. The Hilton Foundation views the master plans as having a strategic role in driving increased financing to districts, supporting and ensuring government ownership and leadership, and fostering the development of strategic partnerships for improved sustainability and impact. Magdalene’s final words looking forward served to inspire session attendees to continue advancing on this sometimes messy path, piloting, learning, and engaging together to progress towards the SDGs.

More Learning

For more resources and learning you can view the full session recording here or visit this webpage for extensive resources on the Collective Action work of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Safe Water Strategy grantees.

Blog information

Authors: Laura Brunson of Millennium Water Alliance and Juste Nansi of IRC
Review/Editing by: John Butterworth, Vera van der Grift and Tettje van Daalen

Information about the series

This e-learning series is convened by IRC with topic-specific assistance from other partners. The series is open to all Safe Water Strategy partners and friends and aims to support cross-context learning and strategic exchange within the Safe Water Strategy community. Funding for the e-learning series is generously provided by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Next topics for the e-learning series
  • April – Improving water quality in different settings 
  • May – Finance


What is in a name - the ANAM WASH initiative

22 February 2021 at 16:58
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.