Improved WASH team decision making capacity

Improved WASH team decision making capacity

USAID TRANSFORM WASH project is supporting the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) and its One WASH National Programme (OWNP) by addressing key barriers to the uptake and sustained use of WASH products through the development of an inclusive WASH market.

What are these key barriers?

In most woreda (or districts) of Ethiopia, WASH sector actors - such as bureaus of health, water, education, agriculture, women affairs, finance and economic development and woreda administration – lack integration and coordination. These actors also have limited knowledge on the available WASH policies, strategies, framework and guidelines. The lack of knowledge on these policies have limited the implementation capacity of the WASH sector actors.

According to Michael Negash, SNV Transform WASH Project Manager, building the capacity of the government to solve these gaps is a priority for SNV. The project started by providing need based trainings in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s region. Learning from the experience in the southern region, TRANSFORM WASH is scaling up the trainings to other regions. The Amhara region is one of the beneficiaries of these trainings.

Decision-making tool

“Since we did not get proper orientation on the WASH policies, guidelines, frameworks and implementation strategies that support the effective implementation of WASH activities, we had limited knowledge and understanding,” says Yohannes Admasu, Head of Gozamen Woreda Health Office, Amhara region.

During the WASH sector planning, budgeting, monitoring, evaluation and reporting training, the WASH sector actors have clearly identified gaps affecting implementation capacity. This has helped the team develop a need-based WASH strategic plan. This plan has served the woreda WASH team (WWT) as a key implementation and decision-making tool.

To realise the activities listed in the plan, representatives of the woreda WASH sector offices signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). This document has played a key role in clarifying their respective roles and responsibilities. The support from the TRANSFORM WASH project also helped the woreda to revitalise its WASH team. The team turned out to be functional and is holding its regular meetings. The decisions made in the meetings are recorded for further action and follow up.

“All these made the woreda WASH team active in making timely decisions,” explained Esubalew Debas, Woreda Health Office WASH focal person and technical member of the WWT.

Procurement and financial management training helped the WWT learn more about financial management and procurement procedures. This in turn allowed the WWT manage the budget released from Consolidated WASH account (CWA) [1].

Last year, the bid process to utilise the budget allocated for construction of latrine, placenta pit and incinerator from the CWA was delayed. According to Yohannes, Head of Gozamen Woreda health office, the delay was mainly attributed to lack of knowledge and awareness on how to absorb budget and apply bidding procedures by finance as well as programme staffs.

The WWT decided to include micro enterprises on the bid and these enterprises rejected the bid considering the budget is too low to run the work. However, members of the WASH team who have attended the training revised the bidding document and re-advertised it. This capacity building training increased the confidence of the WASH team to take important decisions and assign a competent candidate to undertake the assignment with a similar budget.

Role of WWT on supporting inclusive WASH market

The WWT, as well as local institutions such as Technical and Vocational Enterprise Development Agency, Health and business development service providers (local sanitation manufacturers), created alignment for implementation of sanitation marketing, which assisted local producers and households to access and increase uptake of improved sanitation products and services.

The WWT has given more attention to sanitation marketing and has allocated a budget amount of 240,000 ETB. Moreover, the woreda supported these local manufacturers in different ways, such as allowing them to use the health centre to produce sanitation products. Currently, two local manufacturers at Chertekel and Yebokila have established and engaged on production of sanitation products.

[1] CWA (Consolidated WASH account) is one model of financing One WASH program implementation at woreda level.