SNV has been working with the Provincial Department of Rural Development (PDRD) in Kampot Province to improve upon rural water supply inventory methods. They first developed an inventory manual and forms; then disseminated these to sub-provincial authorities; conducted training with village chiefs; and piloted the new methods in one commune.

Chum Kiri, Kampot: "You can't manage water supplies without decent information."

On the first day of the pilot, all five village chiefs from the commune met for training on the methodology. They drew maps of their villages indicating each of the known water supplies, planned their travel routes, and role-played interviewing water supply users and filling in the inventory form. After the training, they returned to their respective villages and began actual water supply visits and interviews at each supply. At first, the village chiefs struggled to clearly ask the questions and elicit the responses needed to complete the answers in the form. Over time, however, they became more comfortable with the process. 

The inventory manual will be updated to provide example phrases and questions that the village chiefs can use to improve the clarity of the answers they receive from the respondents. Once all of the water supplies in the village were surveyed, the village chiefs proceeded to summarize the total counts for each data category and water supply type. 

This also proved challenging as the chiefs had to think about where and how to sum the total counts from all of the survey forms. Initially, it was performed in a less than systematic and efficient way, but with trial and error, they reached an understanding. The village summary form itself will be revised to make it easier for the village chiefs to know how to complete the sums; and the manual will provide clearer instructions.

Piloting new ways to identify water issues

After the pilot exercise, all of the District Rural Development Officers in Kampot Province were called for a learning workshop on the new methodology and process. During the workshop, several village chiefs shared their insights from the pilot experience. There was debate on what information should be collected on the inventory forms. Representatives of the national Ministry of Rural Development advocated for additional data fields, while the village chiefs were against increasing workload and complexity.

SNV will be supporting a National Learning Workshop in November 2014 to advocate for reforms to the inventory activity at national level, including formal budgets for the activity and standardisation across all 25 provinces.