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By: Water Integrity Network

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✇Water Integrity Network

How do we deal with inflation and ensure affordable water and sanitation services?

By: Water Integrity Network

Integrity Talks are interactive discussions with WIN partners about their challenges and lessons for advancing integrity in the water and sanitation sectors. This is an edited summary of our fourth session on tariffs and inflation. Our next Integrity Talk will take place on November 23, 2022, on technology for anti-corruption in water and sanitation.

How do water providers and regulators deal with tariffs in times of high inflation?

Inflation is the rate of increase in prices over a given period of time. When acute, as is the case today in many regions, it has significant impact on the cost of living and of basic services, including water and sanitation. This is often felt most sharply by the poor, who are led to make drastic choices to secure essential services. Water and sanitation service providers must cover costs and deal with rising prices of operations and maintenance, while maintaining affordable service for all. This has its challenges. 

In this Integrity Talk, panellists discussed the impact of inflation in the water and sanitation sectors with a focus on tariff setting, the ways to make water and sanitation services affordable to low-income groups, and the role of integrity in realising the human rights to water and sanitation. 

With:
Dick van Ginhoven (WIN), Virginia Roaf (Sanitation and Water for All, SWA) James Cleto Mumbere (Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network, UWASNET), Rajesh K. Advani, (World Bank), Katia Ochoa Trucios (Servicio de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado de Lima, SEDAPAL).
 

 

Key messages

  • The human rights to water and sanitation obligate States to use the maximum available resources for realising human rights.
  • There is pressure to increase water tariffs to cover mounting costs of operations and maintenance.
  • Low tariffs drive a vicious cycle: insufficient financing leads to poor services; poor services exacerbate low levels of payment; this further undermines the financial health of the utility and leads to lack of investment in maintenance in particular.
  • There are significant integrity risks in the tariff-setting process: from capture to insufficient transparency or participation. High inflation has sharpened the focus on these.
  • States and local authorities need to engage with communities to understand their needs and ability to pay. Involving the community in designing and understanding tariff structures can improve transparency and accountability and help reduce petty corruption.

 

How does high inflation affect the provision of water and sanitation services?

Dick van Ginhoven (WIN Supervisory Board):
Some economists attribute the current inflation surge to product shortages resulting from global supply chain problems, largely caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of that, the war in Ukraine has increased energy prices worldwide. There are also other fundamental mechanisms triggering inflation and depreciation of local currencies. Inflation can occur when prices rise due to increases in production costs, such as raw materials and wages, or a surge in demand can cause inflation as consumers have/are willing to pay more for products. This might drive increases in, for example, the cost of energy, chemicals, housing upgrades, investment, and water . 

Rajesh Advani (World Bank):
Inflation in the water and sanitation sectors can be heightened by poorly allocated funding. Governments are spending $320 billion per year on water and sanitation service subsidies. From that, 56% is captured by the wealthiest populations and only 6% reaches the poorest 20%.
 

In utility operations, there is a financing gap when costs are higher than funding. In other words, investment, maintenance and operating costs are higher than the available funding which is obtained through tariffs, taxes, and transfers. In periods of high inflation, utilities have to spend more resources to cover the costs of electricity, staff and chemicals, which, in combination with a reduction of public funds, increases the gap.

 

What is the impact of low tariffs on the financing gap?

Rajesh Advani (World Bank):
Low tariffs drive a vicious cycle where the higher the financing gap, the higher the requirement for additional financing. As public funds are usually insufficient, maintenance is neglected, worsening the technical performance of the utility. When water service provision is deficient, customers are not willing to pay, weakening financial performance and requiring more capital to restore the system, increasing again the financing gap.
 

Katia Ochoa Trucios (SEDAPAL):
Peru has one of the lowest tariffs in Latin America. It is not high enough to cover maintenance costs and extend infrastructure coverage.
 

 

When maintenance costs are not covered, water is not delivered properly, affecting directly people’s supply.”

– Katia Ochoa Trucios (SEDAPAL)

 

How do the human rights to water and sanitation fit in to the discussion on tariffs and inflation?

Virgina Roaf (SWA):
While tariffs should be sufficient to cover costs for delivering water and sanitation, human rights require that these services be ‘affordable’ for people with low or no incomes. This also means that services must sometimes be available for free, with the costs covered by the State or through cross-subsidisation.

Nevertheless, just having a human right to water doesn’t mean that water is immediately available and that it is available for free. States need to make sure people understand this. Human rights impose obligations on States to carefully consider how they prioritise their available resources and to demonstrate that they are making adequate plans and committing adequate funds to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy all their human rights, including water and sanitation. Local governments need to know what aspects of the human right to water they still need to work on, for example: participation, transparency, and how to address corruption. Also, local authorities need to engage with the local community. 

Inequalities are deepened through poorly managed tariffs and through inflation, as the poorest are least able to withstand the accompanying financial shocks, sending them into deeper poverty. Integrating human rights principles into financial thinking will ultimately improve the lives of the poorest people on this planet. 

 

“The challenge is no longer whether the human rights to water and sanitation exist, but how they are to be implemented.”

– Virginia Roaf (SWA)

 

What key factors should be considered for better tariff setting?

James Cleto Mumbere (UWASNET):
In Uganda, there is a legal framework where the tariff system is guided by the Constitution. Several policies clearly outline the key stakeholders in water tariff determination. For example, water utilities make proposals using statutory instruments. Then the responsible minister approves them. The current tariff structure is still hampered by two critical factors: service fees, and VAT (Valued Added Tax), which increase the tariff by about 2% and 18% respectively. Service fees and VAT should be removed from all water tariffs, especially for the poor. Furthermore, it would be important to include pro-poor performance indicators for the utilities at all levels. 

 

“For any effective tariff guideline, collection, and payment modalities, it is important to involve the poor in tariff settings to clearly understand their challenges in accessing water.”

– James Cleto Mumbere, Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET)

 

Katia Ochoa (SEDAPAL):
In the city of Lima, Peru, there is a differentiated tariff according to the types of use (social, domestic, industrial, and state use). The domestic tariff is further differentiated between “beneficiary” and “non-beneficiary”. Lower-income residents are under the beneficiary category and they pay according to their income. This allows for differentiated payment and benefits poor households.
 

The tariff is established by the regulator with the intention of providing sustainable services, which means, covering the operations and maintenance costs, service delivery, and investment in projects to expand coverage. The regulator establishes the tariff with the objective of limiting negative impact on the population. Nevertheless, challenges remain in tariff setting, mainly because the price set by the regulator does not cover the full operating costs, increasing the financing gap.

 

How does financing, and especially loans, affect tariffs?

Dick van Ginhoven (WIN Supervisory Board):
There is a need for a clear financial position of utilities and governments. In Kenya, for example, around 50% of the water budget is spent on debt servicing, which is increasing because of depreciation.
This is never going to be sustainable. We need to look at local markets to finance investment and link that investment with the regulation of tariff indexing. I suggest that existing debt may have to be restructured into local debt. 

 

How does corruption affect tariffs?

Rajesh Advani (World Bank):
Corruption happens on two levels. The first one is petty corruption causing issues both in society and utilities. Some initiatives implemented to fight corruption include using technologies, for example, payment by phone.

In Nairobi, there are multiple issues with endemic corruption but they have little tolerance for it. Utilities use technologies and engage with people by holding meetings and conferences in local areas. By encouraging communication with local stakeholders they have had success in increasing access to water and sanitation in informal settlements. There is a need to involve the community to build social capital and weaken corruption. 

On the other side, there is grand corruption. When there are corrupt practices in investment planning and contracting, there is a huge impact on both the operational and financial viability of utilities. Even though there are very strict requirements regarding the procurement of all contracts in multilateral agreements, the main question we face is, what are governments doing? What is the track record of investigating and then of prosecution? 

 

What challenges remain in tariff setting? What are the big priorities?

Virginia Roaf (SWA):
Tariffs are still too low for people who can afford to pay more. People who can access the service are paying less than people who don’t have access to the service, for example, residents of informal settlements.
 

Katia Ochoa (SEDAPAL):
Lima faces constant population growth caused mainly by migration of poor or extremely poor people to the city. These people generally benefit from a differentiated tariff and this category has seen an increase of 50% in the number of residents.
There is still a deficiency in the methodology for identification of beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of the differentiated tariff: it is sometimes inexact and very subjective. We may be supporting people who are not in need, while the provision of water services must be as efficient as possible to be able to provide affordable prices. 

James Cleto Mumbere (UWASNET):
I fully support the idea of more local currency financing. But I think for that to happen, utilities need to improve and build creditworthiness to make them attractive targets for the financial sector. Otherwise, banks will not be interested in lending to companies that will not repay their loans. A legal framework that allows more access to private finances is very important, as is the role of regulation.
 

 

Moving forward

Inflation has increased the costs of water and sanitation provision and maintenance. In response, a number of water and sanitation service providers have significantly raised tariffs where possible, but not always in a transparent and accountable manner.

The urban poor are more likely to suffer the effects of inflation than higher-income households as they tend to spend a higher share of their income on water and sanitation. With this in mind, a number of water providers and regulators have undertaken significant efforts to mitigate the impact of inflation and secure affordable tariffs. This Integrity Talk highlighted a number of integrity measures used to mitigate inflation and make tariffs affordable: cross-subsidisation, differentiated tariffs, and mobilisation of the human rights to water and sanitation to oblige States to use the maximum available resources for realising human rights. There is still room for improvement in many regions.

This Integrity Talk also underscored the need to take into account depreciation. Many States have taken foreign loans to improve water and sanitation services. With inflation, the debt burden has increased due to local currency depreciation. Debt relief and restructuring, as well as local currency financing are important instruments to consider better support service improvements and ensure adequate and affordable access to water and sanitation for all.

The post How do we deal with inflation and ensure affordable water and sanitation services? appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

✇Globalwaters

Sanitation and Hygiene Influencers Making the Difference

By: USAID Water Team
William Musoni during one of his workshops encouraging members of his community to adopt improved WASH practices including handwashing
William Musoni regularly encourages members of his community to adopt improved WASH practices including handwashing. Photo credit: Theophile Harushyamagara, Water For People in Rwanda/USAID Isoko y’Ubuzima

William Musoni spends his days working as a laborer. When he’s not working, he educates communities in Rwanda’s Eastern Province on good hygiene practices, with a special focus on handwashing. As a mobilizer for community savings and loan associations, he also encourages people to invest in and use proper sanitation facilities and products.

“Because I have built a relationship with local leaders, if I request a space to speak about sanitation and hygiene, they always grant my wish,” William said.“ I estimate that I have reached between 6,000 and 7,000 community members during community gatherings and association meetings.”

In Rwanda, where there is a vibrant culture of community service, William is one of 1,200 people from 10 districts across Rwanda who was trained in the Isoko y’Ubuzima — “source of life” — program, implemented by a consortium led by Water For People in Rwanda and funded by USAID. The program goals are to improve WASH governance, improve drinking water services, and improve sanitation and handwashing services and products.

William emphasizes the importance of handwashing at the right times and how to clean their food and utensils. If they don’t have a handwashing facility in their household, he helps them build one and then demonstrates how to properly wash their hands. This removes accessibility and affordability barriers that resulted in poor sanitation and hygiene practices. “They were mostly aware that they must wash their hands after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet and before breastfeeding. But handwashing after using the toilet has not been a common practice and that is changing,” said William.

Early on as a community mobilizer, William found the communities he served associated new practices with additional financial costs. But, over time, he and other community mobilizers have seen behaviors and attitudes change.

To make sure people can practice what they learn, the community savings and loan associations promote a culture of saving money so they can purchase and use latrines, soap, and menstrual hygiene products. Association members are linked with product suppliers and, if needed, microfinance institutions.

Vestine Mukantwaza uses a homemade handwashing facility after using the toilet.
Vestine Mukantwaza and her family use a homemade handwashing facility after using the toilet. Photo credit: Theophile Harushyamagara, Water For People in Rwanda/USAID Isoko y’Ubuzima

Vestine Mukantwaza is a member of a savings and loan association in her neighborhood where Isoko y’Ubuzima trained community mobilizer volunteers. “I realized our latrine didn’t meet basic standards…I applied for an RWF 50,000 [about $47] loan,” Vestine said. “I improved the latrine concrete, bought cement to improve the shelter, and bought a Sato pan.” With William’s lessons in mind, she added a handwashing facility.

With her improved latrine, the frequency of flies entering Vestine’s kitchen and landing on the utensils that she and her family use to eat has greatly decreased. Her family feels safer, and these household improvements have benefits beyond health: “I tell my neighbors that improved latrines dignify you,” she said.

Vestine’s investments and behavioral changes show that William’s efforts are valuable. “I have to be persistent and stay motivated because I am convinced that if I change the minds of two or three people, they too can be a positive influence in their communities.”

To learn more about how USAID is increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene services, products, and facilities, read USAID’s Plan in support of the 2022 U.S. Global Water Strategy.

By Amy Dempsey, Communications Specialist; Harushyamagara Theophile, Communications and Outreach Specialist at Water For People


Sanitation and Hygiene Influencers Making the Difference was originally published in Global Waters on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

✇UN-Water Affiliated News

UN Climate Action: “Net-zero commitments are falling far short”

By: Anna Nylander

Commitments made by governments to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions are falling far short of what is required to limit climate change, according to the United Nations. Current national … Read more

The post UN Climate Action: “Net-zero commitments are falling far short” appeared first on UN-Water.

✇Water Integrity Network

Assessing integrity levels in utilities: self-scan

By: Water Integrity Network

What is it:

15-minute integrity maturity survey for utilities based on integrity indicators validated in research with the Inter-American Development Bank.  

 

Why it is relevant: 

Understanding what integrity practices are in place in a utility, and how to improve, is key to having an effective integrity risk management strategy or ESG programme. In the water and sanitation sector specifically, integrity management can support improved service delivery, build trust with users, and reduce costly risks of corruption or unethical behaviour. 

This survey provides insight on internationally recognised best practices for integrity, adapted specifically for water and sanitation service operators or utilities. 

 

How does it work:

The self-scan is an online survey in English, Spanish or French, that can be filled in by a staff member or small team with knowledge of key governance and control processes.

The data collected is anonymised and processed in the strictest confidentiality by the WIN research team as input to a global trends report on integrity management challenges and best practices for utilities. 

All participating utilities receive: 

  • A summary of the answers given;
  • A personalised benchmarking report comparing individual utility scores with average scores for water and sanitation utilities, across the main integrity principles (when a minimum number of responses is collected for analysis);
  • A copy of the global trends report. 

 The reports are shared exclusively with the email provided for the survey. 

 


GO TO SURVEY (English)

ACCEDA A LA ENCUESTA (Español)

ACCEDER AU QUESTIONNAIRE (Français)


 

This survey is administered with the Limesurvey platform with data saved on servers in Germany in accordance with GDPR.

 

Going further:

The Integrity Management Toolbox for water and sanitation utilities is a tested set of resources to launch or boost integrity management programmes in utilities. It has been piloted and used to improve service, support financial stability, and ensure compliance in over 25 utilities serving more than 4 million users in 10 countries. Contact us for more info on how to use the tool.

The post Assessing integrity levels in utilities: self-scan appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

✇UN-Water Affiliated News

Webinar: UN 2023 Water Conference and use of national data

By: Anna Nylander

On 14 September the UN-Water Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 (IMI-SDG6) will host a webinar on the UN 2023 Water Conference and the use of national data. For effective … Read more

The post Webinar: UN 2023 Water Conference and use of national data appeared first on UN-Water.

✇UN-Water Affiliated News

Space4Water Stakeholder Meeting

By: Anna Nylander

Space4Water’s vision is to enable all stakeholders involved in the space and water communities to access data and knowledge, to be creative and to realize their full potential in contributing … Read more

The post Space4Water Stakeholder Meeting appeared first on UN-Water.

✇UN-Water Affiliated News

Sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties of the Protocol on Water and Health

By: Anna Nylander

The sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health, held on 16-18 November 2022 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, will be … Read more

The post Sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties of the Protocol on Water and Health appeared first on UN-Water.

✇Water Integrity Network

Integrity Talks

By: Water Integrity Network

Integrity Talks are interactive discussions with WIN partners about challenges and lessons for advancing integrity to improve service and reduce corruption in the water and sanitation sectors. All WIN partners are invited to participate.

To receive Integrity Talk invitations, please sign up below.

 

Programme

 

Upcoming

 

November 23, 9:30 AM CET

Integrity Talk 5 – Addressing Integrity and Anti-Corruption in the Water and Sanitation Sectors through Emerging Technologies

This Integrity Talk will explore the role that emerging technologies can play to promote integrity and identify corruption risks in the water and sanitation sectors and in climate change finance. It will also explore some of the challenges, limitations, and ethical considerations linked to applying new digital technologies in the water sector and beyond. 

Speakers and details

 

Past Talks

 

Integrity Talk 4 – Water Tariffs and Inflation

With Sanitation and Water for All

Water and sanitation tariffs have been increasing steadily. For many households they have become unaffordable, particularly for the urban poor. Inflation is one of the driving factors. This talk explored integrity measures taken by different water and sanitation sector stakeholders, including utility companies, international banks, governments, and civil society organisations, to address the situation and resolve the tension between making water more affordable and coping with inflation.

Speakers and details

Summary – coming soon

 

Integrity Talk 3 – Water Integrity for Small Water Supply Systems

Many crucial small or community-based water supply systems work through solidarity mechanisms and are often not formally recognised, eceiving very little support or resources from local government.  What does this imply in terms of integrity and can integrity management tools contribute to address  water quality, infrastructure, land, and maintenance issues?

Summary – Water Integrity for Small Water Supply Systems

 

Integrity Talk 2 – Water and Sanitation in Informal Settlements and the COVID-19 Crisis

How can we assess and address issues of exclusion and marginalisation in informal settlements from a water integrity perspective? How can different stakeholders use integrity and support the realisation of the human rights to water and sanitation in informal settlements? What has changed with the COVID-19 pandemic?

Summary – Water and Sanitation in Informal Settlements and the COVID-19 Crisis

 

Integrity Talk 1 – Regulators and the Promotion of Integrity in Water and Sanitation

What is the role of regulators in securing access to water and sanitation services? How can they promote transparency, accountability and participation, and which challenges do they face in doing this?

Summary – Regulators and the Promotion of Integrity in Water and Sanitation

 


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✇Water Integrity Network

Suffering in silence: Understanding a hidden form of gendered corruption

By: Water Integrity Network

A new research paper from WIN, Change Initiative, Development Organisation of the Rural Poor and UNU-Merit investigates the incidence and risk factors associated with sextortion when accessing water and sanitation services by women in four different regions in Bangladesh. The study contributes to the growing evidence base exposing sextortion as a grave but hidden violation of the human rights to water and sanitation.

 

Being forced to pay a bribe in exchange for basic services is a grim and unjust daily reality for countless people across the world. It is all the more devastating when it takes the form of sextortion.

“Poor women faced so much difficulty to get water and sometimes some of them had to surrender themselves to those mean men as they were so desperate to get water and other services.”
– Focus Group Participant, Rasulpur (Dhaka South City Corporation)

Sextortion is a form of corruption and abuse of power in which sex, rather than money, is the currency of the bribe. It occurs across the globe and in a range of sectors, from healthcare to education, policing to water service provision. Due to social stigma, cultural taboos, poor comprehension of the issue, and a lack of safe reporting mechanisms, sextortion goes largely unreported, bringing an added challenge to identifying and addressing the problem.

There is significant evidence that corruption in the water and sanitation sectors disproportionately affects vulnerable populations and hits the poor the hardest, particularly women. There may be no more serious manifestation of this than being forced into paying a sexual bribe in exchange for the resource most essential to sustaining life.

Yet despite increasing awareness that women, girls, and other vulnerable members of society may face risks of violence and abuse when accessing WASH services, there is little information on where and how sextortion incidents are occurring, and scarce conversation focused on awareness and prevention.

 

New evidence from Bangladesh

In new research undertaken with partners Change Initiative, Development Organisation of the Rural Poor (DORP) and UNU-Merit, we set out to examine the incidence and risk factors associated with sextortion in accessing WASH services by women in four regions of Bangladesh: two rural, water-stressed areas and two slum areas in the capital, Dhaka.

Analysing data collected from a standardised survey alongside key informant interviews and focus group discussions, the study builds on existing research (UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility; KEWASNET-ANEW Sex for Water Project; Pommells et al.) underlining sextortion as a serious problem in the water and sanitation sectors that impedes access to essential services and infringes upon human rights.

 

Sextortion is not uncommon, and is exacerbated by poverty, water insecurity, and low literacy

Sextortion is both a form of corruption and a form of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). In addition to the SGBV component, three elements must be present to constitute the corruption component in sextortion, including (I) abuse of authority; (II) a quid pro quo exchange; and (III) psychological coercion rather than physical force (IAWJ). This corruption component, and notably the exchange element, may contribute to significant under-reporting of sextortion. It is therefore important to show the inter-relatedness with SGBV, while specifically highlighting the specificity and risk factors related to sextortion.

The new study sought to specifically examine cases where these corruption elements are present, in order to further understand the phenomenon, the inter-relatedness of SGBV and sextortion, and the norms that allow SGBV/sextortion to continue. The survey examined nine different forms of SGBV, four of which are considered sextortion.

Findings from the research show that about 15% of the women surveyed had experienced sexual and gender‐based violence (SGBV) when accessing water, toilets, or bathing facilities. About one-third of these cases constituted sextortion. Due to the stigma associated with experiencing sextortion and/or SGBV, the prevalence of the issue in the study area may be under-reported.

The study found that there are several key risk factors of experiencing sextortion, illustrating the need for further study of compounding risks.

 

Poverty levels

Prior research suggests that women living in poverty are more vulnerable to sextortion, a risk factor also found to be true in this study. With a lack of resources to pay with money and/or goods, women are often left with no choice but to rely on their bodies as the only remaining ‘currency’.

Using a variation of the Lived Poverty Index (Mattes, 2008) to examine poverty at the household level, the research confirmed that those respondents who reported having experienced sextortion were more likely to have a higher score on the Index, signifying a more severe level of poverty.

“People don’t support the poor, when we ask for help or try to complain a crime, nobody believes us. (…) We don’t have any support, any right to be in the position to say no.”
– Focus Group Participant, Rasulpur (Dhaka South City Corporation)

 

Household water insecurity

Women coming from water insecure households were more likely to experience sextortion as well as to pay bribes in order to receive WASH services, highlighting that those experiencing water insecurity are vulnerable to the discretion of service provider officials. Overall, 23% of respondents live in water insecure households, but make up 43% of reported sextortion cases.

“Most of the women are helpless as they are not capable of giving big amounts of money as bribery to get the legal connection, so they are abused by the service providers.”
– Key Informant Interview, Korail (Dhaka North City Corporation)

Respondents who reported predominately relying on unprotected water sources (unprotected wells and springs, rainwater collection and/or surface water) were also disproportionately affected by sextortion incidents. Notably, none of the respondents that had direct access to WASH services in their homes reported being exposed to sextortion.

 

Literacy levels

Another key aspect that contributed to respondents’ vulnerability to sextortion is their level of literacy, supporting previous research that demonstrates corruption’s potential to feed upon the consequences of illiteracy such as lack of resources, limited access to information and/or diminished power and voice. A majority of sextortion cases (72%) reported in this study affected either illiterate or partially literate women. Those women who are literate made up almost half the sample (48.9%) but accounted for only 28.3% of the reported sextortion cases.

 

Strengthening the response to sextortion

Much remains to be done to combat the issue of sextortion. Existing legal frameworks, including anti-corruption and SGBV legal frameworks, are largely inadequate at raising awareness and prosecuting the act, and very few countries have adopted or even discussed specific legislation to address the problem (Transparency International, 2022). Globally, significant shifts need to occur to confront the issue head-on through collective action: governments, sectoral institutions, communities and relevant authorities must all work together, first and foremost to make reporting of issues safer and to support victims, while addressing key risk factors.

Service providers must also play a proactive and practical role, leading the way for other stakeholders.

As one key informant stated, “water is a fundamental right and the service providers are responsible to ensure equal distribution of water for all. They need to change their mindset, as they hold the ultimate power and can demand anything in the exchange of service. They have to be taught to be accountable for their duty.”

Water service providers, operators, and vendors therefore should:

  1. Recognise sextortion and other forms of sexual abuse as serious offenses for which there is zero tolerance;
  2. Ensure that sextortion is incorporated in integrity policies and sanction catalogues;
  3. Ensure that leadership, staff, contractors, and other organisational stakeholders are aware of the issue, understand the penalties for engaging in such behaviour, and know how to identify and report potential cases;
  4. Conduct vetting procedures before appointing people to positions where they may abuse their power;
  5. Introduce independent reporting mechanisms that assess the organisation’s capacity to eradicate and address instances of sextortion and/or sexual violence and abuse;
  6. Raise awareness on the issue among water users and their right to report instances of sextortion in accessing water and sanitation services;
  7. Put in place formal reporting and response mechanisms where individuals can report incidents freely, confidentially, and without discrimination;
  8. Ensure that reported cases of sextortion and/or sexual abuse and violence are investigated in a timely manner by trustworthy and independent entities.

Experiencing sextortion and/or SGBV in accessing water and sanitation services has severe social, psychological, physical and economic implications. Some of the risk factors identified in the study indicate that more vulnerable groups are at increased risk for this gendered form of corruption. Further research on the topic is critical to raise awareness, to identify trends for where, how, and under what circumstances sextortion is occurring, and to hold service providers and decision makers accountable.

Read the full working paper here: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/working-papers/abstract/?id=9348

The post Suffering in silence: Understanding a hidden form of gendered corruption appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

✇Water Integrity Network

WIN yearly partner meeting

By: Water Integrity Network

About 60 WIN partners came together end of June 2022 to share information about their ongoing integrity activities and find out about recent WIN initiatives.

Partners discussed ways of contributing to and implementing the new Water Integrity Network Strategy 2023-2033. They also provided input to the development of the next Water Integrity Global Outlook 2024 on Water Integrity and Finance.

Read summary of discussion here:

The post WIN yearly partner meeting appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

✇Water Integrity Network

Integrity Management as a game changer for water and sanitation in rural areas?

By: Water Integrity Network

Integrity Talks are interactive discussions with WIN partners about their challenges and lessons for advancing integrity to improve service and reduce corruption in the water and sanitation sectors around the globe. This is an edited summary of our third edition on small water supply systems. Our next Integrity Talk will take place in September 2022 and will focus on water and sanitation tariffs and inflation from an integrity perspective. Contact us to share contributions or stay updated.

 

Integrity for small water supply systems in Africa and Latin America: successes, lessons learned, and challenges ahead

Small water supply systems play a key role in providing access to water in rural and peri-urban areas. Many of these systems are outside any centralised water network or state service provision scheme and they work thanks to volunteers and solidarity mechanisms for collective repairs or extensions of the service to unserved groups. As many of these systems are not formally recognised, they receive very little support to access credit or legally contract support services. However, they face significant operational challenges, such as ensuring appropriate water quality and timely maintenance, extending infrastructure, or securing land status.

In our Integrity Talk, partners explored different models for small water supply system management in Africa and Latin America and discussed their experiences of working with the Integrity Management Toolbox for Small Water Supply Systems (IMT-SWSS). This tool, initially developed by Caritas Switzerland and WIN for rural water supply systems in Kenya, links small system management committees with local stakeholders and duty bearers. It puts them in the driving seat to develop a step-by-step plan for service improvements, using governance and compliance tools as stepping stones for more sustainable service provision.

With special guests:

Peter Njaggah (Water Services Regulatory Board of Kenya, WASREB); Namarome Lukelesia (Water Sector Trust Fund); Elvia Arzate (Controla Tu Gobierno); Girum Girma (Caritas Switzerland).

 

“The theme of integrity generates trust, and trust is what we need to reach the most vulnerable.”
– Elvia Arzate, Controla Tu Gobierno

 

Key messages

  • Regularisation of small water systems, or at least formal dialogue with local government, can ensure there is at least more data on service levels from small systems, and, importantly, can ensure committees have access to more resources through grants and loans. However such regularisation is only possible when the legal framework recognises water committees and clearly defines responsibilities. It also requires trust from committees in local and national authorities.
  • Building trust and links between stakeholders, especially between committees and local authorities, contractors and duty bearers, is crucial for communities to gain access to formal resources and service and in some cases for communities to accept external interventions. Trust between committees and users is also essential to increase willingness to pay, support water conservation, and motivate for good service.
  • Integrity is the motor for trust through all its pillars: Transparency, Accountability, Participation, Anti-Corruption and Inclusion. Increasing transparency for example -on the funds available and how they are spent, or on water quality and tariffs- limits discretionary service. Acknowledging the contributions and know-how of local communities, especially indigenous communities, is also key. As is ensuring participation from communities, for example by adapting tools  for low literacy and taking into account the schedules and time constraints of volunteers, especially women.

 

What is the role of the Water Services Regulatory Board of Kenya (WASREB) and how does it engage with small water supply system managers?

Peter Njaggah (WASREB): The Kenyan Constitution recognises the human rights to water and sanitation and these have been translated into national standards. Every citizen of Kenya is entitled without discrimination to water that is affordable, reliable, easily reachable, and of good quality. We also have a very strong water regulatory system providing clear rules and regulations to protect water resources and to control the quality of the service.

WASREB has set up a licencing system for any entity providing water services. We work in close cooperation with small system managers to ensure uniform standards, collect data to track the progressive realisation of the right to water, improve cost recovery, ensure that they do not operate in isolation, secure access to credit or resources, and create control systems to protect the right of consumers. In this way, we are able to promote integrity.

 

Why is important to regularise small systems? How do local communities perceive the process of regularisation?

Peter Njaggah (WASREB): There are over 7000 small water supply systems in Kenya that serve a large part of the population, but many of their management committees are not registered as legal entities and there is no data. Committees that are not registered generally cannot access credit or resources and this is problematic. For example, the national government created a special fund to help communities with small systems during COVID-19. Many could not get these funds because the water committees are informal. We see it as a form of discrimination.

To facilitate regularisation, according to our Water Act of 2016 we offer different licencing models to help small systems depending on their commercial viability. For those systems located in the service provision area of a formal water service provider, we offer four options: 1) The formal water supply provider takes over the system; 2) The formal water supply provider delegates responsibilities to a registered water user association that manages the system ; 3) A cluster of small system committees contract a private operator, with a contract with the formal water supply provider, and 4) the system committee has sufficient capacity to expand and become a formal water supply provider. For those systems that are not commercially viable and are located outside the service provision area of a formal water provider, we offer two options: 1) The County Government, with linkages to WASREB, establishes a contract with the small water supply system committee, or 2) The County Government contracts a private operator, to maintain service delivery standards.

 

“We create awareness to show the benefits of operating in a regularised way. Rather than forcing regularisation and the adoption of a particular option, we recognise the diversity of small systems and allow them to select the model that is better suited to them. In this way we limit resistance.”
– Peter Njaggah, WASREB

 

What is the importance of promoting integrity in investment programmes targeting small systems in Kenya?

Namarome Lukelesia (Water Sector Trust Fund): The role of the Water Sector Trust Fund is to provide grants to counties to assist the financing and development of water services in underserved areas. We have done the following to promote integrity in the management of our programmes and these grants: applied a project risk management tool, enhanced capacity of implementing agents, reduced ineligible costs by auditors, and developed a manual for project implementation with clear processes. Strengthening integrity in our operations has ensured continued support from international development partners (e.g., KfW, World Bank, IFAD, EU).

 

What are the main integrity risks you see related to investment programmes for small water supply systems?

Namarome Lukelesia (Water Sector Trust Fund):  The main integrity risks are conflicts of interest occurring during the identification and implementation phase. In many cases, the identification of the project is politically motivated and in the implementation phase, there are many interested parties. Other issues include the limited capacities of implementing partners, poor compliance with laws and regulations, and activities being implemented outside the contract, leading to increasing costs.

To reduce integrity risks, we are investing in capacity building and we have created a project guidance tool with an internal and external audit checklist. We are recruiting officers at the county level, including engineers, and they have played a key role in enhancing accountability. We have also established a mechanism to ensure that grant recipients report back continuously to the Water Sector Trust Fund. With all these measures we aim to secure access to clean water and sanitation to at least 75% of Kenyans by 2030.

 

What are the opportunities related to applications of the Integrity Management for Small Water Supply Systems (IMT-SWSS)?

Elvia Arzate (Controla tu Gobierno): In Mexico there are at least 4000 small water supply systems in communities that have been historically marginalised. They face lack of infrastructure and poor access to training, technology, or financing. Controla Tu Gobierno has used the Integrity Management Toolbox for Small Water Supply Systems (IMT-SWSS) with partners and WIN since 2020, with seven small system water management committees (known as comités autónomos or comités comunitarios de agua).

The benefits for integrity and for the performance of the systems are numerous. For instance, some committees worked to set up differentiated tariffs for residential and commercial users. This facilitated the payment of debts to the Federal Committee of Electricity. Another example is improved communication with the community, which has encouraged community participation, generated trust, and promoted water conservation.

Girum Girma (Caritas Switzerland): The Government of Ethiopia has policies and, regulations for water supply in remote areas. One of them is the Ethiopian WaSH Implementation Framework (2013) that puts a clear focus on defining roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders, including WASHCOs (community water supply systems in Ethiopia). However, the framework has limitations. Here is where the IMT-SWSS becomes very useful, especially in building capacity of WASHCOs to manage and operate their water system.

The tool, which is visual and didactic, and includes games, clear exercises and hands-on activities, was easy to apply in communities with low literacy levels, allowing for their active participation. The process has had positive results, notably that the IMT-SWSS has helped to create trust between users and management committees.

 

“The IMT-SWSS created favourable conditions to build trust between management committees and users. For example, we saw that people were willing to pay for operation and maintenance services when they were properly informed, trained, and motivated.”
– Girum Girma, Caritas Switzerland

 

What are the main integrity challenges small water supply systems face?

Elvia Arzate (Controla tu Gobierno): In Mexico, water committees face many problems. First, collective forms of water provision are not recognised in the National Water Law. Second, much of the work of the committees is performed voluntarily. Third, the development of megaprojects (e.g. airports) is preventing local communities from accessing water resources by altering land tenure rights. Fourth, it’s a challenge to carry the responsibility of securing water services in the face of natural phenomena such as water scarcity and erosion.

Girum Girma (Caritas Ethiopia): Small water system committees face several challenges. For example, maintenance costs are highly dependent on external finance, there is low state involvement and support for remote systems, and there is no transparency or exchange between committees and water officers or technicians. Building trust requires time.

 

Photo: C. Fernandez Fernandez, working with the IMT-SWSS with a community in Chiapas, Mexico
Photo: C. Fernandez Fernandez, working with the IMT-SWSS with a community in Chiapas, Mexico

 

What have we learned from communities for promoting integrity? What can we learn in particular from indigenous and autonomous communities?

Elvia Arzate (Controla tu Gobierno): In the beginning, it was not easy to start working with the IMT-SWSS. There was resistance and distrust because the committees did not know the work of WIN and Controla Tu Gobierno. The committees asked, “Why are they giving us something without asking anything in return? Why don’t they ask for money?” Once we got to know each other, we created trust and they recommended our work to other water committees. We have had to adapt to their necessities, timings, and traditions. This is a process of responsibility and mutual learning. We do not teach them, we share knowledge.

The committees managing water supply systems in indigenous or autonomous communities have existed for longer than the institutions supplying water at the state level. Autonomous communities have a strong respect for nature and common goods. They also have their own forms of community practices and collective work. This is a good starting point for us to learn about integrity.

 

The post Integrity Management as a game changer for water and sanitation in rural areas? appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

✇WASHeconomics Blog

The intrinsic and instrumental value of water & sanitation

By: IanRoss

Value is a critical concept in economics and philosophy. Economics is a discipline concerned with resource allocation informed by the value placed on alternative uses of those resources. In welfarist economics, value is taken as the strength of preference for a good or service (Brouwer et al., 2008). In that paradigm, strength of preference can be measured as the amount of money people are willing to pay (or accept) to have (or forgo) something. In other words, value is the benefit provided to an individual by something. Alternatives approaches to welfare economics exist, such as the capability approach (Sen, 1980), which focuses on individuals being able to achieve the kind of lives they “have reason to value”. In all approaches however, value is a relative concept in which some things are more valuable/important than others.

Whichever welfare economic paradigm is used, the concept of value is different to how it is used in philosophy to mean a principle or moral standard (Baker et al., 2021). In this post, I draw on the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental value in normative ethics. Something has instrumental value if it a means to an end (i.e. to achieve something else), and intrinsic value if it is desirable in and of itself (Weber, 1921).

Health has intrinsic value in that having less than full health brings disutility (e.g. being in pain, being depressed), but also in that “being healthy” is an important part of a good life regardless of utility.* However, health also has instrumental value in that it enables productive work or full enjoyment of family life (Table 1). Health therefore has both intrinsic and instrumental value. Health care, however, is a service (or commodity) which has only instrumental value through its ability to improve health. So demand for primary care (GP) appointments is a derived demand for health itself (Grossman, 1972).**

Instrumental value for: Intrinsic value in:
Health enabling work, participation in family life being healthy
(mobile, not in pain/depressed etc.)
Water enabling time savings (for school/work/leisure) and prevented disease being water secure
(feeling safe / not worrying about water)
Sanitation enabling time savings (for school/work/leisure) and prevented disease being sanitation secure (feeling safe / not worrying about sanitation)
Table 1: instrumental and intrinsic aspects of value of health, water, and sanitation

I think water brings both intrinsic and instrumental value from the household perspective. Its instrumental aspects are more often emphasised, e.g. in preventing disease and enabling time savings. However, “being water secure” has intrinsic value in that since water is necessary for life, being water secure is part of being human. In addition, worrying about having enough water, or feeling unsafe in water collection, bring disutility (Table 1). Water supply is analogous to health care in being a service/commodity only of instrumental value through how it supports water security. The same thinking applies to sanitation (Jain and Subramanian, 2018). Sanitation services have instrumental value in the same way as water (Table 1), but sanitation security has intrinsic value (Caruso et al., 2017; O’Reilly, 2016).

In benefit-cost analysis (BCA) of sanitation and water interventions, it is usually the benefits of instrumental value which are quantified (e.g. time savings, avoided morbidity/mortality). In health BCAs, however, the value of health is regularly quantified in monetary terms, e.g. US$ (Robinson et al., 2019). For example, willingness to pay for a quality-adjusted life year (QALY), a regularly-used measure of the value of health, can be estimated as through methods such as contingent valuation (Bobinac et al., 2010). A review identified 24 QALY monetary valuation studies with a trimmed median of 24,000 Euros in 2010 prices (Ryen and Svensson, 2015). Such monetary valuations can be summed with other benefits in BCA, just as disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) have been for some water supply BCAs (Whittington et al., 2017). I have a pre-print in which I make the case for using a new “water-adjusted person year” to quantify the value of water for people’s quality of life (Ross, 2022). I think that capturing the monetary value of water security in such a way could better reflect the quality of life gains from water supply interventions in BCA, just as is done with the monetary value of QALYs.

*To illustrate, it is worth quoting Brouwer et al. (2008) in full: “Health is pursued and valued by policy makers for its own sake (and possibly because of its impact on productivity) rather than because it yields utility or merely to the extent that it yields utility. Although good health certainly also contributes to welfare and, for that matter, to opportunity for welfare, it is valuable in itself as an important characteristic of human beings. Indeed, especially in the context of health it has been claimed that utility is an unsuitable guide to policy, if only because a person may adjust his expectations to his condition.”

**Of course, health care may have intrinsic value for a small minority of people who appreciate their problems being listened to, regardless of health consequences (Ball et al., 2018).

washeconomics

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IAHR Young Professionals Congress: Call for abstracts

By: Anna Nylander

The International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR) Young Professionals Congress give young professionals, researchers and students the opportunity to present their work and access mentoring from leading global … Read more

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✇Globalwaters

An Audacious Plan to Deliver Safe, Reliable Water to All of Rural Benin… Profitably.

By: USAID Water Team

Can an ambitious public-private partnership lead to the successful delegation of rural water supply management to small businesses for an entire country in sub-Saharan Africa? Benin offers a test case.

In a 2020 article, Dr. Rob Hope and collaborators in Oxford University’s REACH program described aspects of scale, demand, institutions, and finance that make rural water economics so fundamentally different (and more challenging) than urban water supply.

Recognition of these kinds of obstacles motivated the government of Benin to engage in a decade-long effort to first test and then scale a novel policy approach to delivering rural water supply services, with support and technical assistance from the World Bank. In this approach, known as regional affermage, the government assumes the capital costs for water infrastructure and formally delegates responsibility for the operation and maintenance of rural water supply services. Private sector contractors competitively bid to manage very large consolidated service areas. In Benin’s case, the rural areas are divided into three service areas of approximately three million inhabitants each.

To explore the potential of the Benin experiment, the REAL-Water podcast (available on Anchor, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, among other platforms) recently invited Thierry Barbotte and Mikael Dupuis of UDUMA to drill down into the details. UDUMA is part of a consortium that was awarded two out of the three regional affermage awards for Benin.

Providing sustainable water access in rural Africa: addressing a vital need. Credit: UDUMA

Affermage contracts supplying large service areas were meant to address several of the challenges laid out in Hope’s article: “the economic logic of one supplier to avoid duplicating costs (storage, treatment, delivery, waste, billing, customer services) makes it a natural monopoly, which can reduce costs and raise standards for consumers, if properly regulated. Rural water at the community level lacks scale and provides a lower-quality service due to the physical time and effort required to collect water from off-site supplies, such as handpumps or kiosks.” Consolidating service areas should, in theory, increase economies of scale and pool risks (particularly financial risk).

The Benin regional affermages were also intended to “crowd in” commercial investment for rural water supply, using both development finance and public finance strategically to attract private sector financing. UDUMA is convinced that end-user tariffs for reliable, high-quality water supply can cover the costs of operating rural water supply systems (including the costs of capital maintenance) and even generate a modest return for investors. Importantly, the costs of capital are assumed by the government or by development finance via concessional loans or grants.

Thierry and Mikael describe what led to the creation of UDUMA — a rural water service provider — out of Vergnet Hydro, a company that manufacturers and supplies pumping and conveyance hardware. Initial pilot efforts in Burkina Faso offered evidence for the potential of private sector models for rural water supply system operation (again, conditioned on co-investment by government or development institutions). Incorporation of UDUMA as a service provider followed, with expansion first into Mali and now Benin.

Podcast quote. Credit: Vanessa Guenther

Just getting to the contracting stage represents years of legal and institutional reforms in Benin, the culmination of which was the competition for the three contracts and resulting awards. The contracts are only now being finalized, but over the coming years, the financial performance of UDUMA’s consortium (as well as another consortium led by Tunisia’s SONEDE International) and the operational performance of the hundreds of water supply systems for which they are responsible will provide an indication of if and how these regional affermages can bring reliable water supply to Benin’s rural communities.

By the REAL Water team


An Audacious Plan to Deliver Safe, Reliable Water to All of Rural Benin… Profitably. was originally published in Global Waters on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

✇UN-Water Affiliated News

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022

By: Anna Nylander

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022 is the only United Nations official report that monitors global progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This annual report is prepared by … Read more

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✇Globalwaters

Inclusive Development in India: USAID Partners with Local Transgender Community on WASH

By: USAID Water Team
USAID WASH team conducts a monitoring visit at the fecal sludge treatment unit in Cuttack.
USAID WASH team conducts a monitoring visit at the fecal sludge treatment unit in Cuttack. Photo credit: RK Srinivasan, USAID.

Challenge 1: All over the world, including in India, transgender individuals are targets of discrimination and often lack legal recognition of their gender identity and access to essential services such as education, employment, as well as safe and stigma-free health care.

Challenge 2: In India, stress on water and sanitation services is growing, with more than 60 percent of India’s population currently living in urban areas and a rapidly increasing urban population.

Challenge 3: Sanitation workers and urban poor communities face the most severe consequences of poor sanitation. Less than fifty percent of India’s urban population has access to safe sanitation and sewage treatment services, and virtually no urban communities have a reliable, clean water supply.

To address these challenges, in India, USAID’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs increase access to safe water and sanitation, improve public sanitation services, train skilled professionals on septage management, and increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation services for India’s poor and underserved communities. Ultimately, this work results in improved livelihoods and better health for urban communities.

Throughout its work in WASH and other sectors, USAID values and promotes inclusion. USAID India promotes community-managed sanitation infrastructure, which fosters both ownership and sustainability. Engaging populations in vulnerable situations through livelihood opportunities within the sanitation sector is crucial for their empowerment and progress. USAID promotes the rights and inclusion of marginalized and underrepresented populations in the development process, including indigenous and tribal peoples, LGBTQI+ people, women and girls, scheduled castes, persons with disabilities, and youth.

For example, in 2021, USAID partnered with India’s WASH Institute, the Odisha state government, and the Odisha Water Academy to provide skills training for local self help groups formed in the community to address local issues in more than 1,000 cities and towns to learn how to operate and manage fecal sludge treatment plants. Importantly, the program targeted youth, women, and transgender individuals.

The transgender groups were considered during the COVID-19 lockdowns given many transgender individuals had lost their earnings from working at bus stands and railway stations as travel in the country was curbed. In August 2021, USAID trained more than 30 members of the “Bahuchara Mata Transgender Self Help Group” to develop their leadership skills and technical skills in fecal sludge treatment, disposal of treated wastewater, reuse of sludge for agriculture, and monitoring the quantity and quality of effluent. Thanks to the training, the State Government of Odisha deployed the team to operate the Pratapnagari Water Treatment Plant of the Water Corporation of Odisha (WATCO) in Cuttack.

The operation and management of fecal sludge treatment plants by the self help groups supporting transgender individuals was a watershed moment. These efforts not only empowered a population that routinely encounters socio-economic exclusion, they also helped created a template for strengthened approaches to sanitation elsewhere in the country.

These efforts boosted the confidence and dignity of the group who are now looked upon more highly as role models in their community. Thanushree, a training graduate and head of the self help group, said that members stopped begging in public places during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to lockdowns. The training helped participants to get jobs and earn a monthly salary of approximately 14,000 to 15,000 INR ($177-$189). “We use this as an opportunity to educate ourselves and move on to better things,” shared Thanushree. Additionally, because the training program imparts knowledge about government benefits, some members of the group were able to get government-issued cards allowing them access to free and subsidized food for low-income citizens.

USAID host a training for transgender self-help group members on fecal sludge and septage management in Cuttack, India.
USAID trained transgender self-help group members on fecal sludge and septage management in Cuttack, India. Photo Credit: Praveen Nagaraja, WASH Institute

Notably, the engagement of transgender people in the operation and maintenance of fecal sludge treatment plants became a country-wide best practice when the Bahuchara Mata Transgender Self-Help Group received the ISC — FICCI Sanitation Award 2021 for its outstanding work in fecal sludge management.

Importantly, this initiative provides a model for expansion, and is inspiring other towns to adopt similar methods. As of June 2022, the state of Odisha has established 104 fecal sludge treatment plants, with more than 32,000 existing self help groups for youth, LGBTQI+ persons, and others, across 111 towns and cities, community engagement for operation and maintenance of sanitation facilities holds enormous potential.

Expressing a strong commitment to promoting a world in which all people are treated with respect and dignity, Mark Tegenfeldt, Director, General Development Office, USAID/India said, “Transgender individuals and other gender minorities exist in every society and culture around the world, and throughout history, and their accomplishments and contributions are wide ranging and impressive. Despite facing unique challenges and adversity on the basis of personal identity and expression, it is heartening to see transgender people and communities coming forward on this WASH initiative.”

USAID has supported WASH programs in India for decades, beginning in the 1990s and continuing today. For example, USAID supported the Government of India to achieve its goal of becoming open defecation-free by 2019 by helping to improve sanitation services throughout the country. In 2020, as a result of USAID’s joint work with the Government of India, more than 573,000 people gained access to sustainable basic sanitation services, which was even more critical amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which exacerbated existing challenges.

To advance locally-led development initiatives, USAID supports the Government of India’s flagship programs, Swachh Bharat Urban Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, and Jal Jeevan, to improve the provision of safe water services and move the country toward sustainable sanitation standards. USAID’s work with the Government of India has also helped leverage the strengths of the private sector, bringing in their expertise and resources to achieve improved quality assurance, governance, finance (approximately 4 million USD in 2020), operations and maintenance of essential services. This support has been critical as India moves beyond ensuring basic sanitation to providing sustainable and holistic household access to clean drinking water and sanitation, and addressing water pollution.

WASH practitioners tour a fecal sludge treatment unit.
USAID WASH team conducts a monitoring visit at the fecal sludge treatment unit in Cuttack. Photo credit: RK Srinivasan, USAID.

By RK Srinivasan, USAID/India Water and Sanitation Project Management Specialist


Inclusive Development in India: USAID Partners with Local Transgender Community on WASH was originally published in Global Waters on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

✇UN-Water Affiliated News

FAO technical guide on land tenure, combating desertification, land degradation, and drought

By: Anna Nylander

A new technical guide from the secretariats of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) addresses the integration … Read more

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✇UN-Water Affiliated News

FAO report on effective financing for policy, implementation and partnerships addressing drought risks

By: Anna Nylander

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has released A rapid review of effective financing for policy, implementation and partnerships addressing drought risks. The report presents an … Read more

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