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  • Eléonore Motte

Aguaconsult Newsletter New Year 2023




Happy New Year!



My name is Eléonore Motte, I joined Aguaconsult in February 2022 as a WASH Economist after having completed my studies in Economics and Development Management.


Why did I want to work in the WASH sector? It all started during my master’s, during which I focused on the roles of institutions, communities and the informal economy in development. I understood the difference between water as a human right and water as a service that requires, among others, regulation and financing, and that responds differently to various institutions and contextual factors which create specific incentives. It sparked my interest to explore the impact of weak economic and institutional environments on the quality of WASH services. Studying the case of AySA in Argentina, one of the biggest state-run water and sanitation utility providers, allowed me to understand that they often resort to solutions that imply trading off environmental viability and protection of water resources, financial sustainability, and social acceptability. At Aguaconsult, in the context of the REAL-Water project with USAID or through the review of rural water service delivery models promoted by the Hilton Foundation, I get to try to understand what service delivery models work, avoiding the need to make the above-mentioned trade-offs. As well as this, by participating in the production of an advocacy paper for the World Bank to emphasize the need to reinvest in the rural sub-sector and by supporting WHO to optimize the tracking of WASH accounts, I get to explore one of my main topics of interest, how WASH is financed versus how WASH should be financed.


I now would like to share with you an overview of Aguaconsult’s recent and ongoing work in the WASH sector. Whilst remaining strongly focused on the rural WASH sector, Aguaconsult is also diversifying its portfolio of projects to contribute to strengthening the resilience of the sub-sector. All these projects bode well for a new and exciting year at Aguaconsult!




 


STRENGTHENING RURAL WATER SERICE DELIVERY

Reviewing the Hilton Foundation’s investments and service delivery model approaches. As part of a five-year strategic plan for it’s Safe Water Initiative, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has commissioned Aguaconsult to lead a review of its investments supporting a range of service delivery models and implementation approaches for rural water supply in its target geographies of Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda. The primary aim of this review is to investigate the relevance, effectiveness, and sustainability of different service delivery model approaches supported by the SWI. It will also examine how grantees of the Foundation have worked to support capacity building and system strengthening efforts at local and national levels to ensure long-term, sustained delivery of services. Work has already commenced with an analysis of the Foundation’s portfolio and will start in-country during the second quarter of 2023. Contact Harold Lockwood to find out more about the review.



Producing a  World Bank position paper as an advocacy tool for increased investment in rural WASH. We are collaborating with World Bank experts on the development of an advocacy paper to re-emphasize the importance and urgency of investing in rural WASH. The paper aligns with the new World Bank Green Resilient and Inclusive Growth or GRID approach. The goal is to build a powerful human-centred narrative to rethink rural WASH, not only by presenting evidence from the sector but also reframing  its importance in  in making rural areas more resilient to climate change and as areas that remain attractive for development and economic growth. For more information, please contact Elise Jabagi or Harold Lockwood.








Professionalising Malawi’s Management of Rural Water Supply Services. Malawi has made considerable progress in expanding access to rural water supply services; however, critical sustainability challenges persist. Within this context, Malawi’s Ministry of Water and Sanitation commissioned Aguaconsult to determine the steps to enable the professionalised management of Malawi’s rural water supply services. This recently culminated in a workshop to validate findings and agree upon key improvements required. Aguaconsult is now finalising a series of concept notes for refining management arrangements to be applied moving forwards. For more information, please contact Bill Twyman or Julia Boulenouar.




We are off to Ghana for the REAL-Water Project. Aguaconsult leads the research workstream on “Improving Rural water management” as part of the REAL-Water programme. We seek to generate new evidence of the performance of piped water schemes under different management arrangements, and understand the causes behind these possible variations, with particular interest in management practices and other contextual factors. In 2023, data collection activities will start in Ghana, before scaling up to other countries in subsequent years. For more information, please contact Julia Boulenouar.




Providing Technical Assistance to Welthungerhilfe’s WASH Systems Strengthening in Fragile and Developing Contexts. Since 2016, Welthungerhilfe or WHH, has integrated WASH systems-strengthening projects and interventions into its diverse WASH portfolio. In December 2021, WHH significantly expanded its systems strengthening work with a multi-year programme funded by BMZ to support a diverse set of interventions in India, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. Aguaconsult is providing ongoing technical assistance to WHH on WASH systems strengthening and has been supporting this programme since its inception. Following on from Covid-19 restrictions, stakeholders from across the programme met in-person for the first time in Zimbabwe in September to further specify plans for implementation in 2023, and a range of exciting and innovative interventions are planned! For more information, please contact Bill Twyman.



 


ASSESSING THE GLOBAL STATUS OF URBAN SANITATION 

Assessing global sanitation and wastewater in urban settlements with UN-Habitat. The lack of critical data on the status of wastewater and faecal sludge treatment, both globally and at the country-level, is becoming increasingly apparent as we approach 2030. As the custodian agency responsible for tracking global wastewater treatment progress, UN-habitat has launched the preparation of a global wastewater management report due for publication in March 2023. This status report presents the global situation of wastewater and faecal sludge management in the context of what is known to be “best practice”. For more information, please contact Elise Jabagi.



 


CONTRIBUTING TO UNDERSTANDING AND INCREASING WASH FINANCING

Supporting innovative financing  with UNICEF Ghana. UNICEF Ghana, together with UNCDF and UNDP, is in the process of securing funding for the establishment  of a blended finance facility with a complementing enabling facility to accelerate access to basic sanitation and improve the quality of sanitation services in Ghana. Funds will be deployed either directly to large and medium-size enterprises  or to local financial service providers, which will in turn on-lend to households and to small and micro enterprises. Aguaconsult has provided support to UNICEF Ghana and partner UN organisations  in setting-up the fund enhancing resource mobilisation and visibility opportunities. For more information, please contact Elise Jabagi.






Assisting WHO's WASH Monitoring Efforts in the Sahel. We continue to support the WHO on various activities, particularly on WASH monitoring in the Sahel region of Africa and improving the methodology for developing WASH accounts. WASH accounts are increasingly being applied  to understand sector expenditure, improve the allocation of financial resources, and eventually increase transparency to the sector and promote the mobilisation of additional resources. In early 2023 we will roll out support for this tool in Niger. For more information, please contact Eléonore Motte or Julia Boulenouar.



 


KEEPING UP WITH CLIMATE CHANGE 

Strengthening the climate-resilience of WASH programs with UNICEF Ghana. Climate hazards and natural disasters pose a threat to the WASH sector. In addition, the effects of climate change are threatening progress made to date in expanding WASH services to all. The WASH sector in Ghana is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate and natural disasters. For this reason, UNICEF Ghana commissioned Aguaconsult to conduct a study to identify key risks that can impact the delivery of WASH services and threaten Ghana’s environment and population’s health and well-being. Based on the findings, viable adaptation strategies were developed to increase the disaster-resilience of WASH programs and strengthen the capacity of national actors. For more information, please contact Elise Jabagi.



Evaluating the progress in developing National Wetlands Inventories for RAMSAR. Accurate and precise characterisation and identification of wetlands’ extent is crucial to guide efforts to ensure their conservation and sustainable use. For this reason, the RAMSAR Secretariat commissioned Aguaconsult to conduct desk-based research to fill in the gaps to complete the missing information for those countries that have not developed a National Wetland Inventory. This project allowed the creation of a baseline of wetland extent and guided the Secretariat’s effort to develop a strategy to incentivise countries to build their NWI. For more information, please get in touch with Analía Saker.



 


STAFF NEWS AND UPDATES

Eléonore has been with us for almost a year now and has already made a great contribution, bringing a fresh perspective, an inquiring mind and much energy to the Aguaconsult team. She is applying her training in economics and data analysis in a number of important areas, most notably the WASH Accounts project for WHO in West Africa. She is gaining valuable experience of working with clients in a range of settings, including a national workshop in Mauritania last year and we are so happy she is working with Aguaconsult!


We are sad to see the departure of Goufrane Mansour who worked with Aguaconsult for almost six years and wish her every success in whatever direction she takes in a new venture.


We are excited to have just hired a new staff member and are looking forward to welcoming Khuzwayo Tembo in the coming weeks – Khuzwayo is an engineer with several years’ experience in urban sanitation and has most recently been working on a non-sewered sanitation project in peri-urban parts of Lusaka, Zambia.


We are also excited for the upcoming All Systems Connect symposium in the Netherlands in May of this year. The whole team will be attending, and we are co-leading on the coordination of the thematic stream on WASH service delivery and financing.




Pro bono work. In addition to our consulting work, we pride ourselves of dedicating some pro-bono time to professional networks, initiatives and strategic groups that help advance the WASH sector. In 2023, Bill will be joining the Agenda for Change General Assembly and working on some of the organisation’s learning initiatives throughout the year; Julia  co-leads the Sustainable Services thematic group of the Rural Water Supply Network and is also a member of the GLAAS/JMP Strategic Advisory Group. We continue to provide inputs and give talks to various universities and schools around the UK and in February 2023, Harold will attend the Water & WASH Futures conference in Brisbane to present our work on regulation and to provide a one-day training session together with colleagues from Australia’s International Water Centre.

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