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Published on: 26/03/2024

The project, worth 2.5 million euros (1.6 billion CFA francs), was financed by the European Union. It was implemented by IRC Burkina in partnership with the ONEA's Water Professions Centre over a period of two (02) years.

Strengthening water, sanitation and hygiene governance (Ph: IRC, 2020)

When the project was launched in January 2020, IRC's goal was to fill the capacity and practical knowledge gap in municipal project management, while removing bottlenecks to the sustainable management of facilities and the long-term future of WASH services. "With decentralisation, the Ministry of Water and Sanitation developed an action plan to support municipal project management. This project contributed to the implementation of this action plan. " Moumouni SAWADOGO, IRC project manager.

To this end, IRC developed an approach based on the development of decision-making, organisational, planning, supervisory and monitoring capacities of municipalities to ensure the achievement of SDG 6.1 (universal access to drinking water) and SDG 6.2 (universal access to sanitation). This approach built on the many successful experiences developed by IRC in Burkina Faso since its establishment in 2012.

Impressive results based on successful experiences

After 35 months of implementation, the project achieved several results. These include the signing of 93 cooperation protocols formalising support for municipal project management; training of municipal and regional managers in municipal project management; support for the development of WASH master plans for the 2030 horizon in five (05) municipalities: Léo, Koudougou, Tenkodogo, Po and Pouytenga; support for the development of Water supply master plans for the 2030 horizon in three (03) regions: Centre East, Centre West and Centre South (87 communes); technical assistance for town halls to establish the baseline for WASH governance; prepare and monitor the implementation of budgeted annual work plans; support for the establishment of a digital platform for technical and financial monitoring of small private drinking water supply operators and the implementation of regional frameworks for dialogue and accountability on performance of these operators.

The development of WASH master plans at both communal and regional levels was one of the main activities of this project, which began to scale up the impressive results achieved by IRC in its first partner district, Banfora.  According to Ousmane Bangre, former first deputy mayor of Tenkodogo, "No matter how brilliant you are, you can't achieve anything important and lasting for the population without a real plan. We have welcomed this plan with great interest because we believe that we have a document, a reliable scientific basis, that will allow us to guide us in meeting our population’s needs in terms of water, hygiene and sanitation".

As part of the implementation of actions to achieve these results, several stakeholder meetings were organised to discuss WASH governance practices and raise awareness of various issues related to the challenges facing the sector.

Enhancing individual and collective empowerment

Municipalities, decentralised state technical services (regional departments for water, health, and education), the governorate, the High Commission, private operators for the management of water piped systems, ONEA, were all stakeholders with whom the project team has worked at various levels to ensure greater relevance in the implementation of interventions. A synergy of action was created between the various actors in the sector through the signing of cooperation protocols. This ensured that everyone played their part, with the Town Hall as the orchestrator. "There are satellite actors who play more or less the same role as the communes, but they do not report to the communes. This synergy of action allowed the commune to be at the centre of all the actions, with everyone playing their part," said Mr Sawadogo, who was in charge of implementing the project at IRC.

With the support of ONEA's Water Professions Centre, capacity building activities were carried out for 186 municipal WASH technical agents, 8,364 local elected representatives and other municipal agents, and 338 regional actors.

Based on this intervention, it has become clear that improved governance of WASH services can be achieved through planning, capacity building, resource mobilisation and medium- and long-term coordination.

IRC is committed to continuing the actions already undertaken, adapting its interventions to the needs identified by the communities, and integrating into the master plans. Efforts have also been made to mobilise resources from IRC's main donors, including the Latter-day Saints Charities and the European Union, to begin implementation in Tenkodogo and the Centre West region.

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