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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.


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