Defining roles and responsibilities
The first step in improving services is ensuring that institutions involved have a clear mandate and the necessary resources and support to fulfil it. At national level, policies may need to be set and/or adjusted, decentralised governments may need additional resources and training to effectively support service delivery in their area of jurisdiction, and service providers may need more oversight and support to operate, maintain and administer water and sanitation services.
The table below provides an overview of the main levels and functions involved in WASH service delivery.
Table 1: Functions and institutional levels for WASH service delivery
Tools & guidance
IRC's work on institutions to support sustainable WASH services focuses mainly on rural areas, where the greatest challenges lie. We've worked with national governments (and other sector partners) in Ghana and Uganda to assess the effectiveness of institutional roles and functions for delivering rural water services and to identify areas for improvement, using the principles framework.
We've also worked on specific challenges such as:
- professionalising community-based service providers,
- putting into place the necessary institutional support to promote sustainable self-supply,
- improving direct support to service providers, through local government and innovative arrangements such as handpump mechanics associations and water and sanitations boards; and
- assessing the performance of service providers and service authorities (see monitoring block).
Of course, there are no one size-fits-all solutions, but the tools, models and lessons learned from our work in these areas can benefit others working on similar challenges.
The Community Water Plus research project studies a sample of twenty of the most successful community-managed rural water programmes in India, examining what type, extent and style of supporting organisations that are prevalent in the rural water supply chain and the resource implications of this. The conceptual framework and methodology described in this working paper are believed to be of relevance beyond this specific research project, and can be used by other studies into support to community-managed rural water supplies.
Self-supply, where households or small groups of households take the lead in the development and improvement of their own water supplies is now a recognised approach to realising universal access to safe water in Ethiopia.These guidelines support planning and implementation of activities to enhance and accelerate self-supply at regional, zonal and woreda levels.
Why have we been unable to provide a sustainable water service to rural people for so long? What were the success factors in the areas where there...
Professionalisation of community based-management means moving away from the voluntary provision of water services towards a philosophy of service...
Community-based service providers need regular, structured support that goes beyond ad hoc technical assistance.
How can national governments, NGOs and donors work together to strengthen local government capacity?
Self supply is an approach that can improve the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of water services.
Public-private partnerships potentially harness market incentives to improve service delivery and leverage private capital for investment costs.
This paper describes and discusses existing and emerging models for the provision of urban and small town water services in Ghana.
A report showing the impact of post-construction support on rural water supply in Colombia.
This policy brief highlights lessons emerging from use of Sub-county Boards in Uganda to strengthen O&M for rural water supply facilities.
Handpump mechanics support water user committees by repairing pumps upon breakdown.