World Water Week (WWW) is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. This event provides a global platform and hub to demonstrate innovations and to share knowledge in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. This year, WWW addressed the theme “Water, ecosystems and human development”.
Amongst all the bustle of WASH experts for across the world, the Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP) programme’s Global WASH advisor, Sharon Roose, took to the corridors of WWW, to share her knowledge from the V4CP programme, and to interview key government officials from Tanzania, Kenya, and Indonesia.
The V4CP programme has been working closely with WASH Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Kenya, Ghana, Indonesia, to strengthen their capacity in advocacy and evidence so that they can contribute to WASH policy development both with the government and the private sector.
We took the opportunity to gather further insight from Ms. Roose on how V4CP approaches can be applied in a broader context:
What lessons learnt and approaches from the V4CP programme can be utilised by other WASH programmes to achieve systemic change?
- In SNV’s V4CP programme, we contribute to structural systemic change and constantly advocate for governments and the private sector to integrate the interests of potentially disadvantaged individuals or groups when policies are being designed and turned into practice. WASH activities under V4CP are closely linked to SNV’s SSH4A programme.
- Evidence-based advocacy is not a standalone approach and needs to be aligned with broader WASH activities such as sanitation supply chains and finance, sanitation demand creation, and hygiene behaviour change communication.
- Evidence-based advocacy plays a crucial role for scaling, both at district and national level, to support decision makers to adopt and implement inclusive policies and regulations.
What are the main take-aways from the interviews (see below) from government officials, and what issues do WASH stakeholders need to keep on addressing, to strengthen WASH systems both at district and national level?
Sustainable sanitation includes the following:
- Government needs to have clear policies and guidelines in place, not just at national level, but also at district level.
- Governments should allocate a defined budget to sanitation. Sanitation is rarely defined as a separate budget line at local level, and because there is often a lack of resources at decentralised levels, this also results in lack of budget allocation for sanitation.
- Achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) status alone is not the finish line. Sustainable sanitation can only be achieved through long-term behavioural change processes (to turn new hygiene practice to habit) and by understanding the processes needed in sustainable sanitation.
- WASH staff awareness of post-ODF service deliverable models is pivotal. Sustainable sanitation services require a good understanding of post-ODF service delivery models even before reaching ODF. These models are broader than simply implementing Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) in a post-ODF context.
To watch these interviews please view the SNV WWW special, or watch the videos below.
Listen to Vincent Iduri, Public Health Officer for the Kilifi county of the government of Kenya, elaborate on what he considers to be the top three barriers to accelerating the Kilifi county’s progress in ending open defecation practice: 1) cultural beliefs, traditions and customs; 2) low numbers of technical staff officers vis-à-vis population numbers; and 3) inadequate financial resources resulting in limited transport options + low incentives to reach populations
Stephen Kiberiti (Tanzania), video
In Tanzania – Stephen Kiberiti, Head of Food Safety, Water Safety and Environmental Sanitation Unit of the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children – zeroes in on how the government is addressing the sanitation needs of pastoralist communities in the country. In this clip he presents a myriad of strategies that the government is undertaking, which ranges from behavioural change communications (BCC) campaigns and collaborating with water supply actors.
In line with the SDG’s, the national government of Indonesia is now headed in the direction of strategising for a post-ODF situation and safely managed sanitation. In this recording, Mr. Wahanudin explains how the government is ensuring how sanitation-related activities in districts mirrors the national governments priorities.
Listen to the audio file here.
1 ODF is the termination of faecal-oral transmission, defined by a) no visible feces found in the environment/village; and b) every household as well as public/community institutions using safe technology option for disposal of faeces (World Bank).