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Fixing the sector, not just the pump: a systemic intervention in Malawi’s wash sector

This case study describes how Engineers Without Borders (EWB) promotes sustainable rural WASH services in Malawi. The UNICEF-WHO Joint Monitoring programme reports improved rural water supply coverage in Malawi at approximately 77%, but only 45% to 75% of water points and systems are functional, depending on the district. Similarly for sanitation, Malawi has performed well: reducing open defecation from 35% to 11% between 1990 and 2008; however, improving sanitation facilities and sustaining their use remain challenges. EWB believes that the failure of the Malawi WASH sector to attain sustainable service is due to project-oriented thinking. Districts’ limited time and resources are often diverted into off-budget, NGO-driven interventions; as a result, district staff tend to act only when donor money is available, and they have little incentive to engage directly with communities to analyse local problems and develop effective responses that can be implemented with the limited resources available. [authors abstract]

This case is part of the Triple-S water services that last cases for change.

TitleFixing the sector, not just the pump: a systemic intervention in Malawi’s wash sector
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLockwood, H.
Secondary TitleWater services that last : case-studies
Pagination4 p.; 2 photographs
Date Published2013-06-01
PublisherIRC
Place PublishedThe Hague, The Netherlands
Publication LanguageEnglish
Keywordscase studies, malawi, monitoring, sanitation services, sustainable development, water supply services, water, sanitation and hygiene [WASH], who/unicef joint monitoring programme
Abstract

This case study describes how Engineers Without Borders (EWB) promotes sustainable rural WASH services in Malawi. The UNICEF-WHO Joint Monitoring programme reports improved rural water supply coverage in Malawi at approximately 77%, but only 45% to 75% of water points and systems are functional, depending on the district. Similarly for sanitation, Malawi has performed well: reducing open defecation from 35% to 11% between 1990 and 2008; however, improving sanitation facilities and sustaining their use remain challenges. EWB believes that the failure of the Malawi WASH sector to attain sustainable service is due to project-oriented thinking. Districts’ limited time and resources are often diverted into off-budget, NGO-driven interventions; as a result, district staff tend to act only when donor money is available, and they have little incentive to engage directly with communities to analyse local problems and develop effective responses that can be implemented with the limited resources available. [authors abstract]

This case is part of the Triple-S water services that last cases for change.

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Disclaimer

The copyright of the documents on this site remains with the original publishers. The documents may therefore not be redistributed commercially without the permission of the original publishers.