Category Archives: Regions

Can you spend too much on sanitation?

The decision to divert funding from water to sanitation turned sour when drought struck India.

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Ledger. Uttarakhand, India. Photo: IRC

A budget tracking study in India revealed that the shift of policy focus from water to sanitation has resulted in a cut in government spending on rural water supply. This was a cause of concern because at the time of the study (August-December 2015) six of the seven states reviewed were reeling under severe drought.

A Parliamentary Standing Committee report released on 6 May 2016 stated that the government would be unable to achieve its 2017 target of providing 50% rural households with piped water. The media accused the government of starving the National Rural Drinking Water Programme of funds, while at the same time increasing funding for Prime Minister Modi’s flagship sanitation programme “Swachh Bharat”. The government has even introduced an additional 0.5% “Swachh Bharat” service tax.

The Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) is presenting their budget tracking study on 26 July 2016 in Delhi as part of the WASH Dialogues series of events. WASH Dialogues are an initiative of IRC and TARU Leading Edge. CBGA’s presentation will focus on the institutional and procedural bottlenecks that are constraining public expenditure in the water and sanitation sector.

For more information on the event “Tracking policy and budgetary commitments for drinking water and sanitation in the new fiscal architecture in India” go the IRC Events page.

For more on budget tracking see:

This news item was originally published on the IRC website.

Monitoring Africa’s sanitation commitments

IRC helps AMCOW develop a new process to monitor the N’gor declaration

At the 2016 Africa Water Week, civil society called on the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) to honour the region’s commitments on water, sanitation and hygiene, including those agreed in the 2015 N’gor declaration. The four partner organisations in Watershed – empowering citizens, Akvo, IRC, Simavi and Wetlands International, were among those that endorsed the collective statement submitted to AMCOW by the African Network for Water (ANEW).

Progress especially on sanitation has so far been poor; only 4% between from 2000 to 2015, according to Al-hassan Adam from End Water Poverty. A recent IRC/WSUP finance brief stated that only eight African countries provide data on sanitation expenditure. All of them are falling behind on their N’gor declaration commitment to spend 0.5% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on sanitation. Exerting pressure to speed up progress on sanitation is an obvious task for those civil society organisations (CSOs) that Watershed aims to support.

Next to lobbying AMCOW to honour its sanitation commitments, IRC is also advising the ministerial council on the development of a new process to monitor the N’gor declaration. The aim of the new monitoring process is to create reflective dialogue processes at country and subregional levels and strengthen mechanisms for accountability to citizens and political leaders informed by evidence.

So far a Regional Action Plan has been developed, and indicators and scoring criteria have been reviewed through a series of sub-regional consultations led by AMCOW in Nairobi, Dakar and Johannesburg in May and June 2016. See below an example of an indicator with scoring criteria.

For more information, read the background paper prepared by Alana Potter.

Ngor indicator typology

This news item was originally published on the IRC website.

Enabling factors for the existence of waste pickers: A systematic review

Enabling factors for the existence of waste pickers: A systematic reviewSocial work (Stellenbosch. Online) vol.52 n.1 Stellenbosch 2016. Authors: Rinie Schenck; Derick Blaauw; Kotie Viljoen.

The paper reports on a systematic review research process to determine the enabling factors for waste pickers to operate in the informal economy in South Africa. Twenty-eight South African journal articles, theses and position and policy papers were sourced and appraised.

The results indicate that recognition of the waste pickers in the waste system is the most enabling factor for them to operate. The concept of recognition is analysed, described and explained as assisting waste pickers to become more visible, having a voice and to be validated.

Improving the quality of public toilet services in Kumasi

Improving the quality of public toilet services in Kumasi, 2016. Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor.

Public toilets are the leading form of sanitation in urban Ghana: in Kumasi, 700,000 people use one each day. This Note presents the activities of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to raise the standard of these services. PN027-126x188

To assist KMA in promoting greater private sector involvement, PPIAF commissioned the consultancy Ernst & Young (EY) to conduct a feasability study. The study recommended that toilets participating in the scheme be operated under a Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT) model, presented in Figure 2. Key features of the model are: 1) a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project Company would design, build, finance, operate and maintain the toilets for a 20-year concession period, after which the assets would be transferred back to KMA; 2) the Company would directly collect user fees and use it to cover their costs; 3) the Company would pay a monthly franchise fee to KMA, calculated as a percentage of revenue; 4) revenues 10% higher than assumptions made in the financial model would be paid to KMA; and 5) donor funding and cover to insure KMA’s termination guarantee may be sought.

There is a clear need for improved standards of public toilets in Kumasi. Progress has already been made, with training and improved monitoring impacting positively on the level of service. While rehabilitation and construction under the BOOT scheme will take time to complete, the resulting improvements should reduce waiting times for consumers, improve overall service quality and enhance financial viability.

KMA recognises that PLBs are not the long-term solution — a five-year compound sanitation strategy is being implemented in parallel, to achieve universal access to in-house sanitation in the long term — but the steps now being taken by KMA will ensure that public toilets provide the best possible service in the interim.

A tale of clean cities: Insights for planning urban sanitation from Kumasi, Ghana

A tale of clean cities: Insights for planning urban sanitation from Kumasi, Ghana, 2016. WaterAid.

Key learning points A-tale-of-clean-cities-143x203

  • Sanitation progress in Kumasi has been a long-term effort championed by a technically strong municipal Waste Management Department, supported by a wide range of development partners.
  • Despite some political consensus around the importance of sanitation, and partly due to inadequacy of monitoring systems, financial support has remained low, limiting progress.
  • Open defecation has been almost eliminated through the expansion of public toilets, prioritised at the expense of private toilets because of housing constraints.
  • Enabling policies catalysed private sector investment, improving management of public toilets and service levels across the sanitation service chain.
  • Disparities remain in terms of reach and quality of these services, which are poor in low-income areas.
  • Sanitation planning exercises helped forge a shared vision on how to advance towards sustainable service delivery.
  • The quality of these ‘learning by doing’ planning processes was more influential than were the resulting plans.

The Dawn of a Sanitation Revolution in India – World Bank

The sanitation campaign in India is helping Rajasthan become a top performing state in ending open defecation. The Chief Minister of Rajasthan declared sanitation as one of the state’s top development priorities, with a target of eliminating open defecation by 2018.

To bring this vision to fruition, an innovative Community Led Total Sanitation Campaign (CLTS) was launched in many districts with the leadership of district collectors.

The approach focuses on crucial issues: Behavior Change and Demand Creation. From Health Centers, to Schools, to door-to-door visits, the message of sanitation and hygiene was effectively communicated.

Health is blooming, one home at a time. One village at a time. And Rajasthan is on course to becoming open defecation free.

Refreshing Africa’s future: prospects for achieving universal WASH access by 2030

Refreshing Africa’s future: prospects for achieving universal WASH access by 2030, 2016. Authors: A. Markle; Z. Donnenfeld. Institute for Security Studies.

Access to water, sanitation and hygiene is indispensable to development, but what will it take for Africa to achieve universal access in 15 years? This paper uses the International Futures forecasting system to explore Sustainable Development Goal 6, which promises water, sanitation and hygiene to all by 2030.

It finds that Africa is not on track to meet this goal. In response, it uses two alternative scenarios to assess the costs and benefits associated with accelerating access. The first models an aggressive push toward universal access and the second a more moderate approach that advances access to water, sanitation and hygiene based on countries’ 2015 baselines.