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Our approach is to focus on the key ingredients of effective service. For successful WASH services, recipients are active participants who are fairly and respectfully treated, proud to pay the same price as their neighbours for a consistent service. Service delivery is a private sector role, and regulation by authorities and by civil society is essential to ensure quality and universal access.
Whave focuses on building the institutional structure. Many aid “think-tanks” identify the root reason behind the persistence of the global WASH crisis as the absence of appropriate institutional frameworks or enabling environment. Projects which are scattered geographically and under pressure to spend limited budgets within a short time-frame are not effective.
Whave adopts a systems building approach, focusing on universal access to safe water (ensured by good community governance), combined with pride in payment for a valued service, and combined with good regulation and public-private partnership.
Our experience is that this approach is practical and feasible. The process of building an enabling environment requires clear communication and consensus. Politicians and civil organizations who currently transact gifts and promises, are open to dialogue and pride in supporting transition to a stable infrastructure that provides services every day for everyone.
The norm for clean water access and sanitation in cities in Africa (and throughout most developed countries including in rural areas) is the Private-Public Partnership. The usual concept is for utilities to deliver services the quality and value of which are tested continually against performance indicators and transparency of accounts. Central and local governments act as regulators , although the role of monitoring indicators, screening accounts, evaluating performance, ensuring universal access, and fostering improvements in value-for-money for the recipients, is sometimes taken by independent monitors and regulators. A utility failing to provide consistent good service at the right price, loses its role to a rival organization. Under these conditions, service utilities develop efficient internal systems, making sure that their staff are working efficiently—this often requires payment on commission and performance-payment. Practice is not always perfect, especially in respect of informal settlements, but the concept is well understood and therefore measures can be taken to assure improved implementation.
Whave’s approach is to show that these essential ingredients of effective WASH services can be introduced in rural areas. We have made good progress through proof-of-concept, consensus building, new performance indicators, practical demonstration, partnerships with communities, authorities, NGOs ; our program is described below in the section Sustainable WASH Systems.