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Achievements of the West Nile WASH Accountability Project

Published on: 01/03/2011

Multi-stakeholder learning processes can make a difference: it increases information sharing, raises the priority of water, sanitation and hygiene, there is more community empowerment and results in better performances in the WASH sector.

Multi-stakeholder learning processes can make a difference, participants concluded from a two-year local dialogue and action research for improved WASH governance project piloted in three districts in Uganda’s West Nile region. Among the practical achievements identified were:

  • increased information sharing, coordination and transparency among stakeholders at district and sub-county level;
  • raising the priority of water, sanitation and hygiene resulting in more local funds allocated in some districts;
  • community empowerment and increased involvement of users; and
  • better performances in the WASH sector at district, water service level and in primary schools.

Local partners involved in this 2008-2010 process action research were Network for Water and Sanitation Uganda (NETWAS) and Community Empowerment For Rural Development (CEFORD) with IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) bringing in its expertise on multi-stakeholder dialogue and learning on improving governance in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. This initiative was carried out with support from the 9th EDF Support to Decentralisation Programme (SDP).

 Its overall objective was to improve health and productivity in communities as well as school attendance and educational results in three districts (Adjumani, Moyo and Nebbi) arising from more accountable and responsive WASH service provision through local dialogue. In each of these districts, the project was piloted in two sub-counties (S/Cs).

Learning from practice

The West Nile Project methodology had four main elements: multi-stakeholder dialogue sessions that brought together representatives from the district and sub-county levels; capacity building, action research; and process documentation and advocacy. All these elements were embedded in learning platforms at various levels. The project supported “learning from practice” by promoting joint analysis by all stakeholders of their initial attitudes and practices, as well as testing of innovative approaches to enhance good governance in the delivery of WASH services.

All stakeholders were very positive towards the accountability methodologies and tools such as citizen report cards  piloted during the project and expressed their willingness to continue applying them not only in the WASH sector, but also to integrate them on other government programmes. Towards the end of the project district and sub-county Community Development Officers, Health Assistants at district and sub-county level, parish chiefs and local Water Supply and Sanitation Committees, prepared sustainability plans for 2011 outlining concrete activities, time frames and persons in charge. Progress will be monitored continuously and each quarter the results will be discussed in review meetings and will be shared through public media.