Skip to main content

Published on: 05/01/2012

The new director of IRC’s International Programme, Patrick Moriarty, says that it takes a minimum of three to five years of consistent work within countries to see real changes in the way that services are planned and delivered.

Moriarty has taken over from January 1 2012 as head of IRC international programme and as Director of the Triple-S Project – Sustainable Services at Scale.  He moves from Ghana where he has been running the IRC West Africa Programme for the past four years, including the WASHCost and Triple-S projects.

He says that such large projects are in essence about working with the national sector to bring about change, and to break from a project-based mentality. “What I mean by change processes in the countries is that people begin to work in a different way; that people begin to do their jobs differently, that they begin to think differently, that they begin to understand what their role is differently and, particularly in the case of rural water services, that they begin to understand that their job is to provide a service to people, rather than to build projects.”

He said that the sector as a whole is full of people with strong experience of how to implement projects “but there is a dearth of experience of how you make those last over time”. The success of WASHCost and Triple-S would be measured in how far people change the way that they work.

“Do some donors, do some projects, begin to put more money and time and effort and capacity building into things that are not directly related to projects – to the things that happen after the projects are built. Do they put money into building monitoring system? Do they put money into the capacity of district water and sanitation teams to move around?”

He said that the skills and knowledge that were being developed in Ghana and other countries would bring long-term benefits, particularly where the Triple-S project gave more time for changes to become embedded.

“In my experience and not just from these projects it takes an absolute minimum of three years to begin getting some sort of traction at the very top of the system and maybe with a handful of people working in a district or on a pilot. I think to make any sort of significant difference at the scale of a nation you are probably talking an absolute minimum of five years if everything goes extremely well.”

However, he said that Ghana would benefit from support from Triple-S for a further two years. “I am very confident that by 2014 we will see real and measurable change”.


Peter McIntyre

6-January 2012.



Back to
the top