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Scenarios for improving rural water services

Published on: 20/10/2021

IRC's role as learning alliance facilitator, providing funding and expert advice, has proven to be effective in fostering solutions, development and collective action among district stakeholders in Uganda.

Rwakyaka Mary Kenyana, Kabarole District Councilor for Women, and member of the District WASH Task Team

Rwakyaka Mary Kenyana, Kabarole District Councilor for Women, and member of the District WASH Task Team. Photo credit: IRC Uganda

How do you plan the improvement of rural water services and who do you need to involve? These are the questions that a new journal article answers in the case of Uganda’s Kabarole District, where IRC has been active since 2010.

In line with Uganda's Vision 2040, Kabarole District aims to modernise rural water supply through a transition from community-managed point sources to professionally managed piped water services. In 2016, a Task Team was established, which developed the Kabarole District WASH Master Plan 2018–2030, the first of its kind in Uganda. IRC and the Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership supported the Task Team to become an active learning alliance with 26 members.

The learning alliance developed scenarios over a two-year period based on an assessment of factors influencing service delivery or expected to influence progress towards the Master Plan’s 2030 vision. The three chosen factors where:

  1. District mandate and capacity as service authority (financial and human resources)
  2. Effective demand for professional water services
  3. Water resource quality and degradation

The diversity of the learning alliance members, which spanned national, district and niche levels [needs explanation], increased the robustness of the strategies proposed for an adaptively managed transition towards piped water services. The learning alliance developed five scenarios: the most likely scenario, an optimistic scenario, a pessimistic scenario and two alternative possible scenarios.

Five strategies were judged to have the strongest potential of achieving the desired transition, or of fostering the conditions for achieving 100% access to basic services by 2030 under the range of the five scenarios.

IRC believes its role as learning alliance facilitator, providing funding and expert advice, has proven to be effective in stimulating constructive collective action to improve drinking water services. It is encouraging to note, too, that the Kabarole District learning alliance remains active. It was quick to act in response to the COVID-19 and it will be involved in the mid-term review of the Kabarole District Master Plan.

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