Rural WASH committee approaches
One of the issues that IRC's Triple-S initiative is investigating is "Alternative service provider options" for rural water supply, including public-private partnerships and self-supply. To learn more go to http://www.waterservicesthatlast.org/resources/building_blocks/alternative_service_provider_options
If water pumps and latrines (at least some) are at schools, have you considered forming a water users committee based from the school teachers and parents committee, with subsequent outreach as required. In post flood rebuilding of schools in remote communities where there was a well and latrines built with the school we found the parents and teachers to be a pro-active and committed group with a common shared interest - through the children’s wellbeing. They were also sufficiently organised and committed to be able to raise small amounts of money for well pump spare parts and to arrange periodic maintenance. Kind regards - Chris N
Joanne, my own feeling is that it is not an either / or situation, but rather what else do we need to do. In sparsely populated rural areas I think we will never escape the need for some form of WASH committee for day-to-day maintenance and monitoring tasks. But for me, there is a need to define this formally within the local government systems and to ensure that there is ongoing contact with the local government, most likely via the health services who are more likely to have regular contact with communities (at least as a formal communications channel). Aside from that, the provision of convenient and most likely "subsidized" technical / management support from either the local government or a subcontracted agent might be the way to go. This requires a serious mindshift though from the perspective of the overall management costs of these services that is based on the understanding that investing in these backup external support services is a) likely cheaper than having the rehabilitate defunct services and b) has huge potential benefits in health sector costs or in increased productive capacity of communities / individuals.
This said, there are a number of attempts on the go around the world to test these scenarios: The case study on pg 11 of this document describes a scenario being tried in coordination with government in Uganda: http://www.wateraid.org/uk/~/media/Publications/Handpumps.pdf and this document looking at the issue across Mozambique may be of interest too: http://www.wateraid.org/~/media/Publications/rural-water-sustainability-supply-study-mozambique.pdf
See also MSABI newsletter here who are doing some interesting work on this in Tanzania http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=1e4d2bfabd36422af54c16dc4&id=c2ccdd639c&e=5614e80690
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