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Published on: 18/01/2022

Strengthening WASH systems involves taking action and supporting interventions that are considered likely to strengthen governance and service management functions. This includes strengthening both the drivers (technology, financing, regulation, coordination, service delivery, etc.), as well as the capacity of actors and their interactions, to improve the quality and sustainability of WASH services and ensure that all populations are served. IRC also builds on these levers to accelerate progress.

We work on strengthening local systems (Ph, IRC Burkina)

We work on strengthening local systems (Ph, IRC Burkina)

Especially since drinking water and sanitation services require considerable investment in infrastructure, this component often overshadows other aspects, including capacity building of actors and advocacy to build political will and commitment. However, it is clear that without increased leadership from top municipal and national officials, as well as solid knowledge of the sector's actors at all levels, it will not be possible to meet the 2030 deadline, particularly with regard to the quality and sustainability of services.

Collaborating partners

In Burkina Faso, IRC has chosen to focus on the last two aspects and has been working on these in 2021. In terms of capacity building, IRC is collaborating with the International Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering in Ouagadougou (2IE) to familiarise young learners of WASH with governance and financing. This is particularly relevant because it prepares graduating students for the importance of these roles for effective interventions.

This contribution complements the knowledge of young people on technologies and infrastructures. IRC has also initiated a collaboration with ForthInvestment, a company specialised in the financing and support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and business projects, for the implementation of the PME PERFORMANTES WASH programme. The programme is co-funded by Aqua for All and is being implemented in partnership with IRC, Sinergi Burkina, La Maison de la PME (Société Générale Burkina Faso), the 2IE Institute and other actors involved in financing and supporting the private sector.  The ambition is to support and develop 10 SMEs over a period of ten (10) months in the water, sanitation and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) sectors. Following a call for application thirty-seven (37) SMEs applied, twenty (20) were shortlisted and ten (10) were selected, after an assessment, an interview and a field visit. PME PERFORMANTES WASH is now moving forward with 10 SMEs eager to grow and helped by experts who are responsible for strengthening their technical and organisational skills, as well as investors.

The 10 selected project leaders at the end of a training session on entrepreneurial leadership, September 17, 2021 (Ph,

The 10 selected project leaders at the end of a training session on entrepreneurial leadership, September 17, 2021 (Ph,

Mobilising finance

Note that in addition to this support, a market study is also underway to develop innovative financial mechanisms tailored to the WASH sector in collaboration with local financial actors.

This is becoming urgent because, according to UNICEF, in order to achieve the goal of access to water and sanitation for all, annual funding for water and sanitation in developing countries should triple. Financial resources available at the local level are therefore an important asset that needs to be mobilised while putting the active forces at the heart of the process and making them economic and service promotion models.

Active on many platforms

In addition to all these activities, IRC regularly participates in sector dialogues organised by the Ministry of Water and Sanitation (policy and strategy working groups, thematic groups, planning, exchange and review workshops, etc.). They are advocacy fora for stakeholders to strengthen WASH systems at both the communal and national levels. IRC participated in a technical working group to develop a document to speed up the ending of open defecation in Burkina Faso by 2030. Next to that IRC also contributed to a sectoral framework for environment, water and sanitation dialogue which resulted in the publication of a water and sanitation 2020 performance report.  IRC is also a member of the technical committee for the follow-up of the national study on the status of WASH in schools in Burkina Faso, as well as the development of a hospital hygiene strategy.

Influencing sector actors and asking them to do things differently, especially in WASH, is a commitment that IRC has chosen to make, a quest that is essential to achieving SDG 6. The wide range of technical support we provide to stakeholders and decision-makers, both in terms of knowledge management and support to project management, should enable them to gradually transform the governance and management of the sector. IRC will continue its activities in 2022 to realise the human rights to water and sanitation in Burkina Faso.

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