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A compact for sustainable systems

Published on: 08/08/2019

UNICEF and IRC join hands to support sustainable WASH services in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso has initiated a compact for sustainability of investments in water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the Est Region with the support of the United Nation Children's Fund (UNICEF) and IRC Burkina Faso. This initiative is a part of the 2018-2020 cooperation program through which UNICEF supports the Burkinabe government with achieving universal access to drinking water.

Picture 1 for UNICEF

Burkina Faso has prioritised the WASH sector since 2015. The constitution for example stipulates that every Burkinabe has the right to this vital resource and to conditions that meet their needs. Burkina Faso is also part of the "Sanitation and Water for All" (SWA) initiative, which strives to leave no one behind when it comes to access to safe and sustainable WASH services. In light of all these national and international commitments, the government through the Ministry of Water and Sanitation devotes significant resources to the WASH sector. However, the successes on the ground do not always reflect the efforts made by the State of Burkina Faso and its partners, including UNICEF. This is why they solicited IRC Burkina's expertise to develop a sustainability compact in the Est Region.

Picture 2 UNICEFPicture 3 UNICEF

Statistics readily show that even though there is progress in the water sector, sanitation still faces enormous challenges. 55% of the population continues to practice open defecation with a significant difference between urban and rural areas (9% in the city, against 75% in rural locations). More importantly, the sustainability of systems, services and behaviours related to WASH is one of Burkina Faso's major development challenges.

Equitable access and low cost

In view of the limited successes in the sector, UNICEF has decided to continue to support the Government of Burkina Faso in improving access to safe and sustainable WASH services and eliminating open defecation. Their efforts focus on increasing equity and promoting low-cost technologies to improve access to safe and sustainable WASH services in communities, schools and health centres with a priority given to rural communities. All this while also considering and accounting for local climate change and recurrent humanitarian emergencies contexts.

The Sustainability Compact

The compact focuses on two major issues: 1. ensuring the sustainability of project results for a minimum of 10 years after the end of the project and 2. serving as a model for a future compact extended to all projects / programmes of the Ministry of Water and Sanitation.
The responsibility for the pact is shared amongst partners. After UNICEF, the Ministry of Water and Sanitation will be in charge of ensuring the sustainability of the drinking water service in the intervention zone after 2020 for a period of ten years, with the commitment of the beneficiaries of services.

Some expected results

The main expectation is that by 2030, the supply of drinking water service is ensured continuously at all drinking water points under the authority of the Ministry of Water and Sanitation and municipalities. In addition a monitoring and evaluation system, in compliance with the country legislation, will be implemented to document and verify the continuity of services. This makes it possible to check the quality of the water, and ensure it complies with World Health Organization (WHO) standards, in households as well and in public institutions. It is also expected to help villages and communities maintain their Open Defecation Free (ODF) status and to maintain toilet use and handwashing by households, schoolchildren and patients in health centres.

Burkina Faso and its partners have made significant investments to ensure access to WASH and preserve the dignity and health of every citizen, but the results have not been living up to the investment expectations. But through the sustainability compact in the Est Region of Burkina Faso and collaborating with the Ministry, UNICEF aims to move from completing projects to establishing sustainable WASH systems and services.

A French version of this blog is available titled "Un pacte pour des systèmes durables".

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