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Testing approaches to strengthen the sustainability and performance of WASH service delivery systems.

TitleFinal report on action research to strengthen monitoring, infrastructure management and planning in rural water, Ethiopia : Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership Concept 1 (Ethiopia)
Publication TypeResearch Report
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsHailegiorgis, B, McSpadden, B, Gezahegn, B, Ibrahim, J, Pearce, J, Mekonta, L, Adank, M, Abera, M, Mussa, M, Gashawbeza, N
Pagination100 p. : 40 fig., 28 tab.
Date Published12/2021
PublisherIRC Ethiopia
Place PublishedAddis Ababa, Ethiopia
Publication LanguageEnglish
Keywordsinfrastructure management

This final research report was prepared as an input to the Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership focused on testing approaches to strengthen the sustainability and performance of WASH service delivery systems.

As part of activities under the Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership, local stakeholders in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (SNNPR) and Afar Region of Ethiopia prioritized action research on monitoring, infrastructure management and planning issues in rural water services. This report is the fourth report on these themes, building on earlier reports that shared interim findings. It covers the design of the planned research (including research questions, methodology, and data sources), the system strengthening activities that have been undertaken on these themes, and presents final results and lessons learned. Conclusions and recommendations are provided to guide future related activities in these focus areas and for projects undertaking a similar approach.

Citation Key88247
Full Text

This report

Based on context analysis and baseline assessments to better understand the local water service delivery systems, local stakeholders in three woredas in South Omo Zone in SNNPR and in Mille Woreda, Afar Region prioritized solution finding and action research on two initial priority aspects of the rural water services delivery system: monitoring and infrastructure management. Later, financing WASH services was also identified by the learning alliances as a third WASH system component to be researched.

Part 1 analyses monitoring across all contexts: regional, zonal, and at the district level. Overall, monitoring has been strengthened in all, but systematic and sustainable updating has not been achieved hindering the ability for the data to be used. There are encouraging signs in both Afar and South Omo that indicate some form of monitoring will continue due to increased awareness and recognition of its importance, but the complexity of managing the tools coupled with the overwhelmingly complex challenges facing both areas hinders monitoring long term. More time and the restructuring of the government to allocate staff to and focus on monitoring may improve this, and is beginning, but, so far, under current conditions, sustainable use of the new monitoring tools is unlikely. That said, increased awareness and capacity for monitoring has been improved, despite the lack of additional finance or services.

Part 2 discusses the maintenance action research where improvement has been seen across the action research areas. Capacity building activities have improved organizations capacity, willingness to pay, financial management, revenues, preventative maintenance, and coordination between communities and the woredas, but sustainability of these improvements is uncertain as finance is still a major limiting factor and local government is unable to continue the support provided under SWS. Scheme level actors are capable of managing and maintaining their water systems, particularly low technologies like hand pumps, but are greatly dependent on higher level government actors for support and have limitations to their effectiveness such as the availability of spare parts.

Part 3 outlines the planning collaboration with the four districts (woredas). All four woredas completed fully costed master plans for community and institutional WASH. The achievability of the plan depends on availability of additional financing, but beyond the plans, much was learned throughout the process and the capacity for planning was improved. Collaboration between WASH sector offices increased in the planning process and discussions helped each district understand the opportunities and challenges. The need for coordination during implementation was also stressed during various workshops and the learning alliance supported in strengthening collaboration between planning team members. The data collection for the plans also helped the woredas update their water asset inventory and establish new baseline information for sanitation, hygiene, and institutional WASH. The plans were validated with the participation of learning alliance members and zone, region, and national sector representatives. The woredas have decided to use the plan for development of the government 10-year plan.

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