World Bank: Understanding the “new rurality” in Latin America and what it means to the water and sanitation sector

by Malva Baskovich and Berenice Flores Arias Uijtewaal, re-blogged from the World Bank

Despite the urbanization trends seen in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC), it seems that the rural population in LAC is decreasing in relative terms. In 2001, official figures indicated that 125 million people in LAC resided in rural areas representing 24% of the total LAC population. In 2013, this value decreased to 21% (130 million out of a total population of 609 million inhabitants), and it is estimated that by 2030, the rural population will decrease to represent 16.5% of the total (CEPAL, 2014).

“There is a ‘new rurality’ in Latin America, and it is  critical to be aware of its distinctive features  in view of designing and implementing sustainable WSS institutional reforms and investment projects in rural areas.” — this is an important preliminary finding of the World Bank’s Water Global Practice’s Rural Water Security and Sanitation (WSS) Advisory Services and Analytics (RWSS ASA) Program, currently ongoing in the LAC region. The Program aims to contribute towards the design and implementation of rural WSS projects in the region by gathering, systematizing, and disseminating learning on innovations and solutions to RWSS challenges in the region.

The ‘new rurality’ message is that we, development practitioners, may need to revise—or update—our conventional understanding of the rural LAC context. This is particularly true in view of the SDG Agenda, which calls for the design and implementation of sustainable institutional reforms that consider the changes in the social, economic, and political spheres, as well as confronts the threats of climate change. Ultimately, as the report states, ”achieving sustainable outcomes of reform in the WSS sector hinges on a deeper understanding of the total institutional logic of the sector and this includes understanding the societal rules that are defined by the local country context and political economy realities”. And, as we continue to bridge the gap in water, sanitation, and hygiene in LAC, and as we near the deadline for the achievement of SDG6, the focus will indispensably increasingly fall on rural areas. Better understanding the new rurality is also fundamental to ensure adequate funding and resource allocation to rural communities to achieve universal access.

According to JMP (2016), rural LAC has seen large increases in improved drinking water coverage since 1990, driven by an expansion of piped water on premises. While coverage of piped water on premises is high in South America (89%), it is considerably lower in rural Central America and Mexico (27%) and rural Caribbean (38%). Rural improved sanitation coverage in LAC increased from 36% to 64% between 1990 and 2015. Comparatively few households share sanitation facilities in South America but sharing of an improved facility is more widespread in the Caribbean and Central America and Mexico, where it is practiced by at least 10% of the population.

To learn more about the ‘new rurality’, the Program is addressing two important questions: what has not changed in rural LAC’s WSS sector? And, what has changed?   

What has not changed in the WSS sector in rural LAC? Unfortunately, a lot. While urban WSS performance rates are on the increase, the same trend is not witnessed outside of the urban circle, and inequalities persist. According to the JMP (2015) 14.1% of the rural LAC population lack access to a basic drinking water service (compared to 1.9% of the urban population) and 8.5 million people relied on surface water for drinking. In the same year, only 68.4% of the rural population used a basic sanitation service (compared to 90% of the urban population) and 18 million people in rural LAC still practiced open defecation.

SIASAR data (July 2019) indicates that of the 10,370 registered water communities in this database, 71% have a water service sustainability index (ISSA) category D, indicating reduced sustainability of water services. Underling factors include the lack of governance, uneven public resources distribution to support WSS community organizations, deterioration of infrastructure, poor water quality, weak community management models, poor operation and maintenance practices, weaknesses of service providers and local governments to afford external support to community organizations, among other governance and political economy challenges.

Rural LAC’s weak sector governance and management leads to persistent ineffective strategies to achieve adoption of hygiene practices and behavioral change, especially in fostering healthy hygiene attitudes and practices such as hand washing with soap and the adequate disposal of excreta, among others. Insistent social conflicts over the ownership and shared use of water, tend to be more acute as there is a growing scarcity in water. The lack of disinfection of drinking water systems also remains a chronic weakness at the regional level; it is estimated that less than 50% of rural LAC communities perform this practice, primarily due to the lack of infrastructure and elements needed for water chlorination. For example, in Colombia, only 12% of the rural population had access to some form of treated water, in Peru less than 1% of rural households access chlorinated water. In short, it is safe to say that universal access to quality and sustainable WSS services remains a challenge in rural areas.

However, there is also a long list of factors that have changed the WSS sector’s rural panorama—among others due to urbanization, increased knowledge on climate change impact, and various social changes—and these must be understood and considered when designing and developing adequate sector reform. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog (part 2) to learn more.

More on the World Bank Water Blog

The World Bank is a member of the RWSN Executive Steering Committee and co-leads the RWSN Themes on Sustainable Services and Mapping & Monitoring.

From Colombia to Kyrgyz Republic and Uganda: how we help countries adopt state-of-the art information systems for better management of rural water services

How many countries have you worked in where an up-to-date national information system for rural water services is used for decision-making?

SUSANNA SMETS (World Bank/RWSN Sustainable Services) & ANTONIO RODRÍGUEZ SERRANO (World Bank/RWSN Mapping & Monitoring (re-blogged from the World Bank)

How many countries have you worked in where an up-to-date national information system for rural water services is used for decision-making?

How many well-intended monitoring initiatives did you encounter which are no longer being used?

Your answers are likely to be “few” and “many”, as government-led information systems to support planning and decision making for fragmented rural water services are not easy to develop, institutionalize, and sustain.

It is widely recognized that information systems are a key building block to achieve sustainable rural services delivery – a top development priority given that 8 out 10 people without basic water services live in rural areas, leaving 628 million people unserved. The good news is that a customizable, tried and tested solution already exists, so that countries can leap-frog a cumbersome development process and – more importantly – go through a fast learning curve when adopting and institutionalizing the Rural Water and Sanitation information System or “SIASAR” as their national rural sector monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system.

Following the initiative of the governments of Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are using the innovative open-data platform “SIASAR”. Different actors are using this tool for decision making, strategic planning, rural water performance monitoring, and for taking appropriate actions to prevent services from deteriorating, ensuring that water keeps flowing from the taps and communities receive timely support. SIASAR has been supported by the World Bank since its inception in 2010. In particular, Global Water Security and Sanitation Partnership (GWSP), a multi-donor trust fund housed within the World Bank’s Water Global Practice, provides funding to SIASAR.

Following the initiative of the governments of Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are using the innovative open-data platform “SIASAR”.

With its adaptability and multi-language capability, SIASAR has now been introduced in the Kyrgyz Republic (in Russian and Kyrgyz languages), and a pilot has also been planned in Uganda. Within the context of the Kyrgyz Republic’s national rural water program, supported by the World Bank-supported Sustainable Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project, SIASAR has now gradually been introduced as the sector’s M&E system, covering data on system status and service provider performance for almost a third of its 1800 remote and mountainous villages. This will help to target investments and achieve the Kyrgyz Government’s vision to reach universal access by 2026.

With support from GWSP and the World Bank’s office in Colombia, the South-South Knowledge Exchange Facility helped bring Kyrgyz and Ugandan delegations together in Colombia. This knowledge exchange allowed them to receive peer-to-peer advice on how to introduce, roll out, and use SIASAR, and to learn about effective policy instruments, regulations, and institutional arrangements for sustainable rural water supply and sanitation service provision.

With support from GWSP and the World Bank’s office in Columbia, the South-South Knowledge Exchange Facility helped bring Kyrgyz and Ugandan delegations together in Colombia.

Specifically, the delegations learned about Colombia’s differentiated policy and regulatory instruments for rural areas, including tariff policies, water quality and environmental regulations, technical standards for water supply and sanitation, financing modalities for investments, and of course the SIASAR information systems for evidence-based decision making. Through field visits, the responsibilities of local and regional governments in rural service delivery in Colombia were better understood. The three-way translation between Spanish, English, and Russian put in place and the excellent collaborative spirit by all parties helped to overcome the communication challenge. These delegates took away important lessons on the adaptation process for SIASAR, such as:

  • SIASAR implementation and scale-up requires dedicated human and financial resources at the national and regional levels, including both sectoral and IT experts.
  • A clear roadmap for SIASAR adoption is necessary, bringing in multiple partners to support implementation. Anchoring in national legislation and fostering linkages with other national statistical information systems is critical.
  • SIASAR can cater analysis to the need of different actors and increases transparency and accountability of service provision.
  • SIASAR has helped to inform and influence investment programs to close the urban-rural service gap, accompanied by a range of measures to support rural service providers.

Depending on where they were in the adoption of SIASAR, the Kyrgyz delegation was keen to grasp the process of institutionalization, while the Ugandans were exposed to the range of capabilities and practical first steps that have now led to a first pilot, supported by the Uganda Integrated Water Management and Development Project (IWMDP).  

Seeing solutions in action can be a great motivation. The knowledge exchange with Colombiastimulated learning and encouraged officials from Kyrgyz and Uganda to try and adopt solutions to their own circumstances. A guide is now available that can help any country go through the process and prepare for the steps of adopting SIASAR.

SIASAR has proven to be an effective tool for improving the monitoring, evaluation, planning, and coordination of water supply and sanitation services in participating countries in Latin America and beyond. Through knowledge exchange activities like this and future GWSP technical assistance, we hope to support more countries in adopting the system and joining the initiative, while we commit to continuous improvement of the capabilities of the system. 

Grown-up finance for the rural water sector

The challenge of achieving the SDGs is upon us and with this concrete and short-term objective, the sector is finally taking the issue of financing more seriously, which is a very good thing but not before time. Whilst a few years ago finance was the privilege of a selected few, everyone is now talking about it; however, whether this is a case of better late than never still needs to be proven.

by , re-posted from Aguaconsult with thanks

The challenge of achieving the SDGs is upon us and with this concrete and short-term objective, the sector is finally taking the issue of financing more seriously, which is a very good thing but not before time. Whilst a few years ago finance was the privilege of a selected few, everyone is now talking about it; however, whether this is a case of better late than never still needs to be proven.

Last week, I chaired with interest the RWSN webinars on “grown up finance” for rural water supply. Kelly-Ann Naylor (UNICEF), Catarina Fonseca (IRC WASH), Sophie Trémolet and John Ikeda (World Bank) and Johanna Koehler (Oxford University) gave great presentations and here are my few take aways from the discussions:

The magnitude of the challenge is huge and greater than we probably think. We often hear about the figure of USD 114 billion to achieve SDGs 6.1 and 6.2, but this is only part of the story. This figure covers investment and maintenance of new services, but excludes the crucial maintenance of existing services and the broader sector support.

We know there is a huge funding gap and the current finance model will not fit the bill. Official Development Assistance (ODA) has not increased as much for WASH as it has for other sectors and concessional finance as well as domestic investments only accounts for a fraction of the required investments. The sector has the potential to attract other sources of finance, but we need to take a few steps.

We need to have an honest conversation about the exact magnitude of the challenge at national and district level to support planning and budgeting. This is taking place at national level as part of the SWA process in some countries, but only partially at district level. More robust data on service levels as well as cost of services, which are currently insufficiently researched, can help us in this direction, but we need to move faster.

We need to get better at understanding budgeting processes and supporting strategic multi-year budgeting both at national and district levels. Most countries are not very good at this at the moment and it has to change.

We need to advocate beyond the WASH sector and target more important political decision makers – Ministries of Finance and even the office of the president) to prioritise domestic investment in WASH and increase it through a larger tax base and increasing tariffs. Again, evidence will take us a long way in bringing politicians round the table.

We need to look at other sources of finance, particularly private finance to complement existing funding sources. Making the sector more attractive to private investment will be a necessary first step, but this will hinge on Governments playing a crucial role in strengthening the enabling environment and de-risking the sector. ODA, currently crowding the sector will need to focus on the riskiest segments and leave space for private investments to come in (e.g. stop lending to urban utilities and focus on rural water supply). Assessing sector entities’ performance and risk profile will be a necessary first step.

We need to start experimenting with innovative “blended finance” models, learn from them and adjust. Examples are already out there from Benin, where subsidised concessions are being tested; but also from Kenya and other countries.

After decades of ODA dependency, the WASH sector is slowly opening up to the real world of finance to reach its ambitious targets. This means being transparent and accountable, providing evidence of performance and better understanding what will incentivize the commercial finance world. A huge task ahead and surely a dramatic and positive change in culture!

Photo: Inspecting community-level financial records in Tajikistan (S. Furey)

In Memoriam: Abdul Motaleb

It is with great sadness that we have been informed that Mr Abdul Motaleb (61) passed away in the night of 30 April 2017.

Motaleb had over 36 years experience in the Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation Sector in Bangladesh and was widely liked and respected figure in the Bangladesh WASH sector.

photo: Abdul Motaleb and Sean Furey, in Dhaka, February 2017 (photo: Md. Nurul Osman – with thanks)

It is with great sadness that we have been informed that Mr Abdul Motaleb (61) passed away in the night of 30 April 2017.

Motaleb had over 36 years experience in the Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation Sector in Bangladesh and was widely liked and respected figure in the Bangladesh WASH sector.

He graduated from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). Dhaka in 1979 with a BSc in Water Resource Engineering and later in his career went on to gain a MSc in Sanitatary Engineering at the International Institute for Infrastructure, Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering (IHE) Delft, the Netherlands.

During his long career he worked for M/S Associated Consulting Engineers, the Department for Public Health Engineering (DPHE), King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, World Bank/UNDP, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and most recently the World Bank Group and as a freelance consultant.

Among his many works and achievements, it was on the topic of handpumps where he seemed to get most pleasure – from his involvement in the development of the Tara to his expertise with the Jibon Deepset and the No. 6 – handpumps on which tens of millions of people today in Bangladesh depend every day. He was a long standing member of HTN, later RWSN, and was an active contributor to the RWSN Groundwater group.

Abdul Motaleb inspecting a HYSAWA handpump installation near Khulna, SW Bangladesh, February 2017 (Photo: Sean Furey)

I had the pleasure of working with Motaleb from January onwards this year on an end-phase review assignment for SDC and we spent 10 intense days together in south-western coastal Bangladesh, with the staff of the HYSAWA Trust Fund.  He was utterly charming and humble, with a deep well of knowledge and experience. I could not have wished for a better colleague and in a very short space of time we became firm friends.

He will be greatly missed.

Sean Furey, RWSN Secretariat / Skat

 

Selected Publications

  • Technical Paper on Monitoring and Regeneration of Production Wells in Bangladesh. A paper presented by Abdul Motaleb (DPHE) and Drs. G.J.deWit (IWACO) at the seminar for Civil Engineering Division at the 34th Annual Convention of the Institute of Engineers, 1990 Dhaka Bangladesh.
  • Monitoring the Tara pump: An assessment of Functioning, Social Acceptability and O&M system. A report published by UNDP/World Bank Water and Sanitation Program RWSG-SA Dhaka
  • Quarterly Notes on Danida funded DPHE Handpump Training and Monitoring Program based on project implementation experiences published by UNDP/World Bank Water and Sanitation Program RWSG-SA Dhaka. Altogether 14 (Fourteen) HTMP Notes were prepared during 1993-1997.
  • Technology Development Never Stops-A story of Jibon Deepset Handpump Tubewell in Bangladesh. Paper presented in HTN Workshop on Civil Society and Government Partnership in Rural Water Supply, Hyderabad, India, 2000.
  • Village Organizations become Development Partners. Paper presented in 26th WEDC Conference, Dhaka 2000.
  • SODIS – An Arsenic Mitigation Option. Paper published in 26th WEDC Conference, Dhaka-2000.
  • SORAS –  A Simple Arsenic Removal Process. Paper published in 26th WEDC Conference, Dhaka-2000.
  • Total Sanitation Approach and Practice. A case study in Watsan Partnership Project (WPP). This paper presented in 19 AGUASAN WORKSHOP 2003 on This shit drama-Are there ways out? held in Switzerland organized by SKAT during June 23-27, 2003.
  • Arsenic Mitigation: Action Research Findings based on project implementation experiences in Watsan Partnership Project and published by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Bangladesh in June 2003.

 

 

 

MOOC “Planning & Design of Sanitation Systems and Technologies”

Eawag-Sandec in collaboration with EPFL, the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program and the World Health Organization are launching the new revamped online course about urban sanitation on 17 October .

About the course
Do you want to learn how to plan affordable and context-specific sanitation solutions? The course deals with citywide planning and programming and focuses on specific contexts such as informal settlements. It covers the whole sanitation chain providing detailed
information about appropriate sanitation systems and technologies.
For the 2nd round of this course, we added new videos about recent developments such as sanitation safety planning or excreta flow diagrams.

• Week 1: Introduction to sanitation planning & systems approach
• Weeks 2&3: Sanitation systems & technologies
• Week 4: Urban sanitation solutions – Case studies
• Week 5: Urban sanitation tools

Sign up
The course is offered for free in English and French with subtitles in Spanish and Hindi. Please visit the course pages to sign up.
• Course in English: http://www.coursera.org/learn/sanitation
• Course in French: http://www.coursera.org/learn/sanitation-fr

Find out more: factsheet-mooc-planning-design-of-sanitation-systems-and-technologies

#RWSN @ #WWW : the presentations

RWSN co-convened two sessions at last week’s SIWI World Water Week in Stockholm and presentations are available to download:

WASHoholic Anonymous – Confessions of Failure and how to Reform

All presentations: http://programme.worldwaterweek.org/sites/default/files/panzerbeiter_lt_1400.pdf

Build and Run to Last: Advances in Rural Water Services

Continue reading “#RWSN @ #WWW : the presentations”

3 ways countries can improve water supplies in small towns

by Fadel Ndaw, World Bank Global Water Practice – reblogged from http://blogs.worldbank.org/water/3-ways-countries-can-improve-water-supplies-small-towns

water-small-town-bolivia

A public faucet that serves 1,000 families in el Alto, Bolivia. Photo credit: Stephan Bachenheimer / World Bank

Small towns* typically have not been well served by national or regional water utilities. Decentralization has become increasingly widely adopted, but even if local governments at the small town level have the power to operate a water utility, they often lack the capital and skills to do so. In response, some local governments and public institutions concentrate improvements on upgrading public utilities’ operations or strengthening community based management. In other cases, they choose to bring in the private sector knowledge of how to get clean water and sanitation services to more people more efficiently, affordably or sustainably. There is no one solution to addressing often very complex water and sanitation challenges.

Continue reading “3 ways countries can improve water supplies in small towns”

RWSN & UPGro at Africa Water Week: WASH Sector Learning and Joint Sector Review sessions // RWSN & UPGro à la Semaine africaine de l’eau

Next week is Africa Water Week (http://africawaterweek.com/6/) , the event that happens every two years that brings Africa governments together to discuss and share experiences on all aspects of water management and WASH, and provides an interface with the latest innovation and research.

If you are attending then please do join RWSN and UPGro partners, UNICEF, IRC, Skat, USAID/WALIS, MWE, Africa GW Network in the following sessions:

 Strengthening national capacities for WASH sector learning Continue reading “RWSN & UPGro at Africa Water Week: WASH Sector Learning and Joint Sector Review sessions // RWSN & UPGro à la Semaine africaine de l’eau”

What’s happening in RWSN?

So this week, Kerstin Danert , Dotun Adekile and Jose Gesti Canuto are in Zambia running a “Procurement, Contract Management and Costing and Pricing of Borehole Projects” course with 40 water sector professionals as part of the RWSN collaboration between Skat and UNICEF on cost effective boreholes.

In Perú, The World Bank and SDC have been running a RWSN side event on rural water supply at this year’s Latinosan conference. This is first of two preparatory meetings (the second will be in Bangkok in May) for the 7th RWSN Forum, which will be 29th Nov – 2 December 2016

The World Bank, IRC, WaterAid and UNICEF will be actively involved in next week’s SWA High Level Meeting of WASH sector Ministers in Addis Ababa helping to make sure that rural water (and indeed sanitation and hygiene) become a high political priorities on government agendas and budgets.

and finally, World Water Day is on 22nd of March, so you have any rural water stories to share, then get in touch.

No more “business as usual” in Benin’s water sector

from the World Bank blog:

by Sylvain Adokpo Migan

As countries consider how to meet their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), creating water supply services that are more sustainable – with investments that are longer-lasting – is a high priority. This is the case in many rural parts of Africa where today’s villages are quickly becoming tomorrow’s small towns, and demand is high for an improved system to develop piped water schemes. It’s certainly true for Benin, where I work.

Continue reading “No more “business as usual” in Benin’s water sector”