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Published on: 01/01/2017

About the initiative

Rwanda adopted the District-Wide Approach in 2016. The District-Wide Approach (DWA) seeks to support the achievement of universal and sustainable access to water and sanitation services, by strengthening the enabling environment and focusing on the district, as the service authority.

Under the Agenda for Change umbrella, Aguaconsult, IRC, WaterAid and Water for People have been supporting the piloting of the DWA in five of Rwanda's districts between 2017 and 2019.

The Approach has been applied in the district of Bugesera, Gicumbi, Karongi, Ngororero and Nyamagabe. For the past three years, these districts have established local government as a unit of analysis and work, incorporated this integrated planning approach into national WASH policies and funding strategies. For an overview of the project and its developments, see the documents below:

For a summary of the initiative see the learning note: Application of the District-Wide Approach in 5 pilot districts of Rwanda

For a more detailed process documentation read: The District-Wide Approach: Progress review from its application in five districts in Rwanda

Relevant tools and guidelines on finance and district capacity

In support of the DWA in Rwanda a suite of tools have been developed to i) calculate the capital replacement costs of existing services and ii) feed into the broader cost calculations required to achieve the district's vision of achieving universal and sustainable services. The implementation of the DWA in the districts consists of five generic steps, under which a number of activities are to be undertaken and related outputs are generated. The final output of the process of which a consolidated WASH plan. Below are a collection of some of tools, guidelines and relevant resources:

Assessment phase tool guides

Assessment element
Tools used in the partner districts
Guidance available
Services accessedInitially based on AKVO FLOW survey and then the national Management Information System (MIS), based on household survey questionnaireDatabase with calculated service levels per householdDatabase containing data on: population, access and service levels. Can be aggregated to village, district or national levelGuidance provided by MIS
AssetsInitially based on AKVO FLOW survey and then the WASAC Excel-based asset registryDatabase with information on composition, condition and age of all water related infrastructure assets in a districtAsset registry with details on existing water supply asset components, in terms of age, condition and level of priority for maintenance activitiesGuidance from WASAC on asset registry tools
CapacityExcel-based district capacity assessment toolExcel sheet with information on the institutional capacity of the district governmentSheet which captures existing district skills against core functions; municipal WASH budget and time dedication against key activities. It also captures training needs.User's guide for the District Capacity Assessment tool

Costing and financing phase tool guide

Cost category
Approach used
Supporting tool
Guidance available
Capital Maintenance Expenditure needsFrom the asset inventory, systems requiring major repairs because of their age and/or condition are identified. These repairs are matched with costs, calculated using pre-identified unit costs per asset component and condition. The costs are then spread costs over a 10-year time span.CapManEx calculator
included in the asset
Guidance for Using the Capital Maintenance Expenditures Tool

Guidelines for district planning
WASH data collection in Gicumbi district
Guidance for implementing the District-Wide Approach in Rwanda
Guidance for Developing a District WASH Plan

Full Life Cycle Investment plans
Rulindo District Investment Plan - draft
Gicumbi District Investment Plan - draft
Bugesera District Investment Plan

Research papers
Developing district WASH investment plans

The finance gap

The realisation of district plans is simply not possible without strong financial commitments. Identifying and addressing the gaps in finance is key to supporting the vision of making water and sanitation services available to all. The following briefing note was commissioned to examine the similarities and differences between Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia:

Addressing the financing gap in the water sector in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda


Project lead by

IRC logo        WaterAid        Water for People        Aguaconsult


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