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Published on: 28/04/2014

The Minister of State for Water, Honourable Betty Bigombe, has appealed to actors in the water and sanitation sector to adhere to national standards, policies and objectives. She was speaking at the launch of the revised District Implementation Manual (DIM), a key document that sets standards and guidelines for all stakeholders involved in the provision of water supply and sanitation services at district and sub-county level.

Bigombe observed that one of the key challenges facing the water and sanitation sector today is the lack of coordination among stakeholders which has led to unnecessary competition and lack of synergy, and eventually wasted resources and time. The lack of relevant and up to date established guidelines can cause a lot of confusion especially when implementation of water and sanitation programmes and projects is not well coordinated.

Lack of coordination among stakeholders is a key challenge says Minister.

'Although the basic premise is that support should be aligned with national policies and frameworks, reality often differs. For example, some interventions are driven by donor agenda and others by political ambitions. Harmonisation and coordination requires all actors to recognise and adhere to common principles and approaches when supporting water and sanitation services.....Uncoordinated approaches lead to fragmented strategies, which result in inefficient use of resources, duplication of roles and a total lack of alignment with government policies', Bigombe said.

It is important for all actors to harmonise their approaches and align them to national development objectives and targets. The Ministry of Water and Environment has been working towards harmonisation since 2001, when it adopted the Sector Wide Approach (SWAP) to planning and budgeting. Currently, the Ministry of Water and Environment together with key development partners are implementing a Joint Water and Environment Sector Support Programme (JWESSP). The objective of the JWESSP is to support the water and environment sector to achieve its targets and improve its efficiency through a consistent, harmonised sector programme.

The District Implementation Manual (DIM), first produced in 2007 is expected to add to the ongoing efforts towards harmonisation, alignment and increased efficiency. It lays out the standards that should be followed when implementing water and sanitation projects.

'If all actors adhere to the District Implementation Manual, Ugandans can expect similar standards of water and sanitation services delivered across all districts. This will minimise the disparities that currently exist and the variations in services from district to district', Bigombe stressed.

The District Implementation Manual will be used as a guide for implementing projects, as a tool for capacity building and also a tool for monitoring. To ensure its use, the Ministry will expect key actors at district level to align their activity reports to the standards set in the DIM. Steps have already been taken to ensure that the DIM is widely disseminated – both the comprehensive and popular versions have been produced.

'I hope that with this District Implementation Manual in place, Ugandans will get the level of water and sanitation services they require in order to live healthy and productive lives,' she concluded as she unveiled the manual.

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