In the final week of our Dgroup discussion, the participants explored the effectiveness of tools to target and service the last mile and the integration of these into service delivery models. Reinforcing the previous discussions on the diversity of the last mile and the importance of context, many felt that it "depended on the situation" and must be "custom made". As was observed, adaption and custom designing is essential based on the circumstances, need and cultural diversity of that locality. There is no one universal tool to support targeted groups.
Effective tools in targeting identified groups
Working with existing government identification systems in ways that strengthen and not undermine was valued by several contributors. Examples included the Rwandan government system which uses poverty groupings, and whilst acknowledging the potential social exclusion elements of this, as a process has the support of local leaders. As was expressed by someone using the example of Cambodia's ID poor system, "It is the development practitioners' duty to work with this system, to invest in it and to strengthen it, rather than spend time and resources on ad hoc fixing of its shortcomings in the field."
Working with local leaders and local government structures was also seen as an effective targeting tool. In Zambia, whilst the government system does not disaggregate, the Sanitation Action Groups (SAG) which include the local leaders, are expected to understand different households' sanitation dynamics. In Bhutan, an example is working with the local sub-district leaders through their meetings to understand the issues of the last miles and to advocate the importance of a transparent identification process of these households or individuals, the role of local leaders in this, and the importance of a verification process at the village level assembly. "Local leaders are not only best placed to identify vulnerable households, but they are also the ones that have the local knowledge on how to best overcome the challenges."
Some of the participants felt that it involved a combination of tools, of which self-selection, community-based targeting and geographic targeting would be included. Ones that emphasise self-respect and pride of having sanitation facilities are also valued over using ways that would create dependency or potentially "subsidy capture" by wealthier individuals/households.
The effectiveness of tools for targeting depends partially on the context, the scale, scope and the activities of programmes. So instead of asking "which tools" should we use, it may be more important to ask which attributes such tools should have, such as accountability, transparency and participation (of local actors).
Effective tools in supporting identified groups in the last mile
Both software approaches and hardware approaches (including the use of financial mechanisms) were shared as effective tools in supporting the identified groups by the participants. Software approaches were focused predominantly on the local level and on finding local solutions that supported community unity and social capital, but also included work with the private sector and local governance systems. Most contributors proposed combinations of both software and hardware approaches, whilst others advocated against the use of financial mechanisms or at least, only after all other avenues had been tried. The importance of context, understanding of the barriers beyond poverty and that there are no "one size fits all" solutions was reinforced.
Missed the other topics? Read up on this Dgroup discussion: "Universal access and use of sanitation & hygiene services, what works?"
Read the proceedings of our Learning Event on Rural Sanitation: “Universal access and use of sanitation and hygiene services, what works?” here.