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).
Although children and adolescents rarely fall seriously ill with COVID-19, they are nevertheless extremely affected by the pandemic. Instead of playing outside, going to school, doing sports and meeting friends, they are now locked up with their parents all day, often in very confined spaces. In addition, they are worried about their family, their friends and themselves. Together, Welthungerhilfe and WASH United want to ensure that children and adolescents understand why their normal lives are being so drastically restricted and what they can do to protect themselves, their family and their friends from Corona. To this end, we have worked closely with an expert from the Institute for Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin to develop a comic strip that can be used around the world to educate children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14 about Corona.
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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