Published on: 27/05/2013
This includes the structured support activities to service providers as well as to users or user groups. This may be provided in a variety of ways by either local governments directly, by regional utility agencies, specialized agencies or external contractors or a by combination of these modalities.
Community-based service providers often need regular, structured support to help them fulfill administration, operation, asset management and maintenance functions. This has been shown to improve the likely sustainability of water services and to help reduce major breakdowns and faults.
Direct support often includes:
The costs of providing support are included as part of overall recurrent expenditure. Recent research findings from a range of countries indicate expenditure of between US$ 2 - US$ 3 per person per year on direct support results in reasonable levels of functionality. Such expenditure levels appear to be the minimum required to fund these kinds of support interventions. The same research found that in a number of African countries where less than US$1per person per year is spent on direct support, it is unlikely that such interventions are sufficient to make a significant improvement in service levels.
In order to further strengthen support to service providers, the following can be done:
IRC has been carrying out a series of studies to get further insight into the costs of direct support and the impacts it may have on service delivery. These are now being used to experiment with ways to further scale up support to service providers, for example through hand-pump associations in Uganda.