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  • Harold Lockwood

Aguaconsult Newsletter Autumn 2019

As those of you who regularly read our newsletters and visit our website will know, we are advocates of contributing to stronger local and national systems that can ensure the long-term delivery of water and sanitation services. To achieve this we work at the global level, in support of initiatives such as Agenda for Change and through contribution to events, such as the highly successful All Systems Go symposium held in March in the Hague – Julia, Will and I were all active in a range of sessions there and you can read my blog about this event. Later in the year Julia, acting in her capacity as co-lead of the RWSN sustainable services theme, facilitated a webinar in May on the topic of “planning and financing for universal access”; read her blog about this event and the subsequent e-discussion.

But, while we need to raise the flag for systems strengthening in such global events, to influence and guide, we should not - and must not - forget that the real action happens on the ground. So, I am happy to say that this edition of the Aguaconsult newsletter has a red-thread running through it to illustrate what we have been doing as a company over the last year or so to support system strengthening at the local and national levels, including with the private sector.

You can read about French municipal twinning, Julia and Delia’s work in Rwanda and Uganda, with training of Ministry of Water and Environment staff on capital maintenance costs. Learn how Will has been supporting local government planning in Nepal as part of the WHH Sustainable Services Initiative and get insights from George’s work with a big regional sanitation industry consultation in Nairobi for private sector players.

We are building out our expertise in urban system strengthening work and Goufrane is in the middle of a major assessment of 20 water utilities with IRC, as part of a DGIS-funded programme of building technical and managerial capacity; keep a look out for the results of this work in our next edition of the newsletter. We are also pleased to announce that we have a new associate, Dirk Schaefer, with whom we are collaborating on new urban sector reform projects. Dirk brings a wealth of experience from his work with GIZ across a range of countries.

Please do read the full newsletter and, remember, if you are in Stockholm World Water Week, make sure you reach out to Julia, Goufrane and Georges who will be there for most of the week and involved in a series of interesting sessions and discussions.

With warm wishes from Harold and the Aguaconsult team


Supporting district-wide planning. Efforts have been ongoing in different parts of the world and in partnership with a range of organisations, to move from short-term project implementation to district-wide strengthening. Aguaconsult has already been involved in the development of several planning tools, including the District Level Roadmap for Universal Access; watch out for future updates from Will and our associate Ajay Paul about their on-going collaboration with Oxfam and others on system strengthening approaches in fragile contexts. Recent support provided by Aguaconsult for district level planning includes the following:

Support to French « decentralised cooperation » in WASH. Over the years, several French municipalities have developed strong partnerships with municipalities in the global south across a range of technical areas. As part of this “decentralised cooperation” set-up, three French municipalities have requested financial support from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) to implement WASH projects in municipalities of Haiti, Benin and Burkina Faso. 

Together with the French consulting firm Groupe Huit Julia and Delia have been providing technical support to AFD and these municipal partnerships in Haiti and Benin and , to assess the proposed projects and strengthen their design with the perspective of ensuring long-term service provision.


Introducing and training for life-cycle costing in Rwanda and Uganda. In Rwanda, Julia and Delia have been accompanying the ministry of infrastructure, MININFRA, Water for People and WaterAid since 2016 in the implementation of the district-wide approach and the development of district costing and planning tools as well as guidance documents. A CapManEx tool is now available to project the costs of asset component replacement over time and a consolidated tool is under finalisation to bring all costs and revenue together to determine (and bridge) the funding gap. A guidance document is available online here. Next steps will include developing a methodology for including sanitation and hygiene into these WASH district plans. 


In Uganda, Delia and Julia have adapted the CapManEx tool to the needs of the Ministry of Water and Environment. Delia provided training and specific material for ministry users. To learn more about the importance of CapManEx in Uganda and taking into account corrective and preventive maintenance for cost calculation, read Delia’s blog.

Supporting local planning processes in Nepal. In Nepal, Will has been supporting Welthungerhilfe through its Sustainable Services Initiative to help numerous local authorities (Palikas) to develop Palika-wide WASH plans. Nepal has an overarching Sector Investment Plan, and the Federal Government is now requesting all of the 753 recently established local authorities to develop plans to localise the national targets. However, the Palikas commonly lack the capacity and frameworks to develop evidence-based, sustainable and equitable WASH plans. The demonstration initiatives in target Palikas in the WHH programme is helping to inform national sector learning and guideline development on Palika-wide WASH planning. Contact Will Tillett about this work in Nepal.

The private sector is a part of the system too

Strengthening private sector markets for sanitation in East Africa. On 25th and 26th of June, over 100 people participated in an industry consultation in Nairobi to discuss the findings and recommendations from a sanitation market assessment undertaken by Aguaconsult and its project partners iDE and Sanergy in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. The assessment was commissioned by UNICEF as part of its market shaping strategy, and looked at four submarkets: sanitation hardware products, emptying and transport services, reuse products and sanitation financing. With the help of participants representing the private sector (small, medium and large), non-governmental organisations and the public sector, market opportunities were identified along with potential demand, and supplier needs, incentives and barriers. Most importantly, a set of common goals were identified to strengthen these markets. For more information on the market assessment findings and the results of the industry consultation see the press release or contact Georges Mikhael.

Emerging private sector solutions for rural water maintenance services. 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. As part of the broader Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership funded by USAID and managed by University of Colorado at Boulder, Aguaconsult has been involved in documenting and analysing experiences with recent attempts to professionalise 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 characterising maintenance service provision models, a framework for analysing 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. To find out more, contact Harold Lockwood.


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