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TitleUsing franchising principles to improve water services reliability : paper presented at the IRC symposium ‘ Pumps, Pipes and Promises: Costs, Finances and Accountability for Sustainable WASH Services' in The Hague, The Netherlands from 16 - 18 November 20
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsBhagwan, J, Wall, K, Ive, O
Pagination16 p.; 18 refs.; 4 fig.;
Date Published2010-11-16
Place PublishedThe Hague, The Netherlands
Keywordsfranchising, operation, operations research, partnerships, sanitation, south africa, water

Experiences in South Africa and other developing countries have shown that lack of attention to operation and maintenance (O&M) impacts on the sustainability and the long term operations of water services. Innovation and creativity is warranted in dealing with this challenge. Partnerships using the basic principles of franchising are able to address many challenges
associated with the operation and maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure. Generically, partnerships of this nature would : transfer appropriate skills to local personnel, bring ongoing assistance, mentoring and quality control, and provide backup at-a-distance skills together with the incentive, on the part of the local (franchisee) personnel, to call for those at-a-distance skills and, on the part of the franchisor, to make them available, because there would be a binding contract between them and a shared reputation. Research findings indicate that many opportunities lie in applying the principles of franchising to suitable activities of the water and sanitation services delivery chain -- that is, of readily systematised repetitive operation and maintenance activities. A selection of these activities has been researched and modelled so that they can be made available to small enterprises as the basis of viable businesses. A substantial body of research outputs and documentation of value to water services authorities, potential franchisors and potential franchisees, is now available from the WRC (Water Research Commission). These concepts are now being piloted with considerable success in a school sanitation programme in the Eastern Cape Province. Under the guidance of a franchisor, trainee franchisees are well advanced with initial cleaning and the routine maintenance of the sanitation facilities at 400 schools.The purpose of this paper is to share the concepts of franchising principle and their relevance to water services O&M, findings from the research and lessons from the pilot study. [authors abstract]

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