Addressing systems gaps to improve WASH implementation

Washing hands

Transform WASH is addressing systems gaps to improve WASH implementation at sub-national level.

WASH Sector Capacity Gap Assessment and One WASH National Programme (OWNP) Phase One review indicate that administering finance and procurement procedures is a critical challenge for sub-national level structure particularly, woredas/districts.

SNV in Ethiopia, lead in capacity building for the sub-national government of Ethiopia, has trained government staff to become effective decision-making entities capable of managing and sustaining WASH activities. The training, as well as the continuous follow up and technical back up on procurement, contract administration and finical management, helped woreda WASH sector stakeholders to improve their knowledge and skill, and develop confidence to undertake these tasks.

'The training applied practice, challenge and case based approach. It has helped us to strengthen our financial utilisation and improve the quality of our work,' said Malaga Woreda Health Office, WASH focal person, Adana Alemayehu.

Before the training, instead of undertaking preparatory works, the woreda team used to wait until money is transferred from the region to the woreda. Head of Malaga Woreda Water, Mineral and Energy Office Daniel Tona added 'we used to launch the bidding process after the budget is transferred into our account. But now we finalise the procurement process, once we have learnt that the budget has been approved. Immediately after the money is transferred, winners will be awarded to undertake the activity.' The timely planning and implementation has improved efficient utilisation of budget, the quality of the constructed WASH schemes, performance of WASH actors and delivery of safe water to the community and performance.

The Woreda Finance and Economic Development Office keeps financial records and has good documentation (having both payment and contract agreement for each constructing water and sanitation facilities). There is more clarity and transparency in the Bidding System for every construction. The woreda is effectively managing the construction; and the bidding process is becoming more competitive.

Due to the open bidding system and timely floating, the woreda water office has selected competent contractors to construct water springs and latrines for schools. This has helped it to use the allocated budget to construct additional springs efficiently and deliver on time.

According to the Southern region Health Bureau Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Expert, Temesgen Tefera, after the training, the regional WASH technical team started working in collaboration with the woreda. Financial disbursement and utilisation, as compared to the previous two years, has improved in 2010 Ethiopia Fiscal Year.

Such kind of improvement will increase access to quality WASH goods and services. 'This in turn will help Transform WASH project’s objective of reducing preventable deaths and illness in Ethiopia due to diarrheal disease, particularly among children under five,' said Michael Negash, Project Manager/Institutional Development Advisor, SNV in Ethiopia.

The improved integration among WASH sectors, the timely completion of the planned WASH activities have contributed in improving the effectiveness of OWNP. OWNP aims to contribute towards improving the health, well-being and economic activity of both rural and urban populations by increasing water supply and sanitation access and the adoption of good hygiene practices in an equitable and sustainable manner.