The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – and the increased importance of good hygienic practices – highlights the critical importance of safe WASH services and the WASH systems that support them. The Sustainable Services Initiative (SSI) – an undertaking of Welthungerhilfe, in partnership with Aguaconsult, the German Toilet Organization (GTO) and Viva con Agua – has recently published Tools for Practitioners to strengthen WASH systems (or simply the SSI-Toolbox).
As the COVID-19 situation gets more critical and all our personal and working lives become ever more restricted, at Aguaconsult, we are also adjusting to how we operate as a company. By taking measures in line with UK government’s advice, we aim to help reduce the spread of the virus, maintain business operations and continue to deliver services to our clients. COVID-19 has created significant challenges for all companies. However, we want to reassure you that we are in a strong position to carry on operating effectively with established working practices that make us well placed to ensure continuity, while supporting efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.
Strengthening WASH systems is a core focus of Agenda for Change, in their efforts to help governments to meet the WASH-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
But what does Agenda for Change mean by ‘WASH system’? What examples do they have of efforts to strengthen it? And what have been the experiences of the various Agenda for Change members on progressively applying a systems approach in their programming?
WASH systems thinking has, over the years, been arguably more focused on water supply than sanitation and hygiene. Will Tillett (Aguaconsult) has collaborated with Robert Gensch (German Toilet Organisation) in the development of a discussion paper seeking to adapt systems concepts and conceptual frameworks to better represent these WASH sub-sectors.
Aguaconsult’s Harold Lockwood has been providing technical support to the USAID Sustainable WASH systems programme and has recently published the following report – Sustaining Rural Water: A Comparative Study of Maintenance Models for Community-Managed Schemes. As rural water supply coverage rates rise across many countries, attention is increasingly being paid to finding and implementing cost-effective mechanisms to ensure this improved initial access is sustained over time. Conventional approaches to maintenance have largely been based on voluntary community-based management with communities taking on the burden of maintenance themselves, with limited, if any, support from external agencies or local government. Recently, there have been attempts to professionalize maintenance services and make these services affordable at the point of delivery. This study considers different variations of maintenance approaches. It provides a typology for characterizing maintenance service provision models, a framework for analyzing them, and an in-depth study of seven maintenance models that represent different cases from the typology of approaches. Based on this comparative analysis, the study outlines emerging trends and recommendations for broader consideration.
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