The initiative was operating in Ghana and Uganda from 2009 - 2014. Lessons learned from work in countries feeds up to the international level where Triple-S was promoting a re-appraisal of how development assistance to the rural water supply sector is designed and implemented.
Why target rural water supply?
Of the billion people still without access to a reliable, nearby source of safe water, nine out of ten live in rural areas.
Why focus on sustainability?
From 1990 to 2006 coverage rates in 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa increased by just 10%, and the absolute numbers of unserved have gone up by 37 million. This despite investments by governments, donors, and NGOs to meet the MDG target on water supply and sanitation.
To make matters worse, many of those who supposedly count as having been 'served' actually have systems that are not working properly or that have failed completely. The 2007 study by the Rural Water Supply Network found 36% of hand pumps across 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa were not functional. This level of failure represents a waste of between $1.2 and 1.5 billion in investments. More recent studies across different countries and technologies confirm a repeated pattern of failure.
How do we change the picture?
It is not so much a matter of financial resources or technological solutions, as it is the approach to deploying resources and solutions.
What was Triple-S doing?
Triple-S was promoting these shifts by working with partners on the ground in Ghana and Uganda and at the International level.
At the country level, Triple-S worked with local partners to:
At the international level, activities include:
What makes Triple-S different?
Systemic but realistic approach: Creating water services that last requires coordinated changes at multiple levels. Triple-S has developed concepts and tools to help us see the big picture of what kind of change is needed, such as the principles framework and the service delivery approach , but also to look realistically at how and where change is possible, taking a step-by-step approach using building blocks .
Focus on learning: The Triple-S approach goes beyond just fixing current problems to build a stronger rural water sector that can learn and adapt to new challenges.
Emphasis on legacy: Conventional methods of technical assistance have limits in terms of ownership, and once the project ends so too do the benefits. Triple-S did not operate like a 'project' rather it attempted to catalyse a movement, working with existing platforms and initiatives and building on processes, energy and interest that is already there.