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Published on: 27/11/2014

We are used to hearing about triggering in the context of Community Led Total Sanitation. That focuses on using disgust and shame to convince communities to use latrines and end the practice of open defecation. Self-supply – households making their own investments to improve the water supply on their doorstep – requires similar triggering to change behaviours and support to make it possible for families to develop infrastructure. The messages are more likely to be positive though: invest and you can benefit. Triggering investment by households means increasing the supply of suitable technology options. The most common investment is in a hand-dug well but manually-drilled wells, pumps of all kinds, rainwater harvesting and household water treatment and storage are all possible choices. Triggering also means increasing demand from households through marketing, or making finance more accessible.

This triggering and facilitating process is what we call Self-supply acceleration. From 27-31 October 2014, a group of 30 interested professionals came together in Adama for a training workshop on how to develop and implement Self-supply acceleration plans. The participants were mainly from partners of the Millennium Water Alliance including teams from Dugda and Omo Nada woredas in Oromia. In Dugda, Catholic Relief Services and the Meki Catholic Secretariat are working to support the woreda, as are World Vision in Omo Nada. Each woreda brought a team representing local government departments such as water, health, agriculture, finance and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The cross-sectoral nature of Self-supply was further reflected in the participation of the Oromia Region Irrigation Development Authority.Other participants came from the JICA WAS-RoPS (rope pump promotion) project in SNNPR including the Water Resources Bureau and 3 woredas, and the large INGO IRC (International Rescue Committee, not the much smaller IRC WASH!) came to see how Self-supply acceleration planning could support their work (especially in the arid Somali region). The Oromo Self Help Organization (OSHO) engaged to see how Self-supply may link to their manufacturing of defluoridation products in the rift valley area. The training was based around a set of guidelines developed by IRC (IRC WASH!) and linked to the national Self-supply manual.

Amongst the highlights of the week were the field visits to look at Self-supply and Self-supply acceleration on the ground. Half of the participants went to Meki (Dugda) to have a look at businesses in the WASH sector. The private sector have a critical role to play in providing the goods and services needed by households for Self-supply but need support. This visit was led by Aqua for All who are supporting the activities on business development. Marlies Batterink from Aqua for All was encouraged: “I noticed that participants are not used to focusing on private sector as part of their work package, but the relevance of including private sector was evident for everybody. The interest and commitment are high, so I expect major steps in that area.”

A second group visited nearby Ada’a with the aim of trying and testing various tools for monitoring Self-supply. This group tested a Self-supply survey using Akvo FLOW, a mobile phone based data collection and mapping application. This proved a big hit with trainees impressed by the ease of setting up a survey and seeing the results on the dashboard and map the next day. The survey was based around a modified sanitary surveillance questionnaire (developed in earlier work by Sally Sutton) which provides a rapid means to capture all the fundamental characteristics of a family well. In most cases this survey took about 20-30 minutes with the well owner. The same team also tested the sample and testing procedure for the compartment bag test for monitoring water quality (E. coli). This is proving a valuable test for sampling large numbers of Self-supply sources due to its relative simplicity.

Each team left the workshop with their own draft Self-supply acceleration plan, and apparently well satisfied with the training. But we have learned before how challenging it is to then go on to complete Self-supply acceleration plans and implement them. This requires coordinated action across woreda governments, and is not business as usual compared to some existing water activities. In this case, the NGOs CRS/MCS and World Vision are committed to supporting Dugda and Omo Nada woredas to finish their plans and to start implementing them with support from the Millennium Water Alliance. They have a chance to be amongst the first woredas in the country to implement a comprehensive Self-supply acceleration process.


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