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Rwanda is ready to scale the District-Wide Approach for WASH

Published on: 17/02/2020

A pilot of the District-Wide Approach for WASH services in five districts is relevant experience for cross-learning and scaling.

Rwanda has set ambitious WASH targets: achieving universal access to basic water supply and sanitation by 2024 and providing safely managed WASH services by 2030. To meet targets, Rwanda adopted the District-Wide Approach in 2016. The District-Wide approach establishes the district as unit of analysis and work, and incorporates this integrated planning approach into national WASH policies and funding strategies.

Between February 2017 and June 2019, the District-Wide Approach was piloted in five districts. Based on a series of assessments districts develop a costed WASH plan for their entire area, and these plans are used to guide future investments in WASH service delivery, but also orient the actions needed to ensure sustainability of services. These plans help the districts in mobilising funds.

“The District-Wide Approach is not a new idea… it is a traditional project cycle, which is improved to include details …. to ensure delivery of universal and sustainable services,” described one government officer involved in piloting the District-Wide Approach. This is also reflected in the learning note presented here (or see Resources below). It contains lessons from the pilots on which steps to take to come to these district WASH plans in an effective and efficient manner, as well as the critical relevance of such plans for sustainable service delivery.

As an early adopter of the District-Wide Approach, Rwanda is closely linked to the global initiative, known as Agenda for Change. Agenda for Change is a collaboration of like-minded organisations with common principles and approaches to accelerate progress towards sustainable WASH service delivery by strengthening national and local WASH systems. Experiences of the District-Wide Approach in Rwanda informed the Agenda for Change district-level roadmap for universal access for sustainable WASH services, which is now applied globally.