Last week we announced our new slogan: Accelerating WASH. Let’s hear what Eric Chimsi, Country Coordinator Ghana, has to tell us about this ambitious promise. We asked Eric three questions:
What do we mean by ‘ accelerating WASH’?
Accelerating WASH refers to the situation where every activity undertaken in our WASH interventions takes less time, less effort and reaches out to many more people than previously. This certainly results in less cost, higher efficiency and quality.
In a moment of going to scale, we rather ‘scale up’ than ‘scale out’ (scaling out refers to replication of an approach in exactly the same way in another area).). Scaling up or acceleration is when the interventions take place in other locations using more institutionalized arrangements and resulting in more results at lower costs, rather than just ‘copy paste’ the original model or idea. For example, in order to be able to accelerate it is very important that people and businesses have access to WASH loans from a financial institute. If this is not available, it is very difficult to scale up.
Can you give an example of acceleration in a WASH programme?
A practical example of an acceleration case is the Tamale Urban Waste and Sanitation Project (TUSWP). It is a multi-stakeholder consortium where players deliver activities covering the full range of the waste cycle – from the provision of improved solid waste management mechanisms to the safe re-use of products obtained from the organic wastes.
The players in the TUSWP work to contribute differently to WASH. Latrine construction artisans have been trained to construct standard facilities (which conform to the national specifications). They have been trained on how to develop business plans and how to organize, register and work as cooperatives, so that they can apply for loans from a Micro Finance Institute to expand their business. Zoomlion, which is a waste management company, handles solid waste management in the urban area. DeCo is a group of private entrepreneurs who use organic waste as raw material for making compost. Urbanet is a network of urban farmer groups who use organic compost to produce organic food and vegetables, whiles the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly fulfils its role by providing the legal backing and operational space for the players to operate in a supervised manner.
Over the past three years, these groups have worked together in a coherent manner showing strong cooperation and have presently reached a position where each of the groups finds an opportunity in working together with others in the consortium, a state we can best describe as having reached the ‘Tipping Point’ and having attained the indicators necessary for acceleration.
In this case the key ingredients for accelerating WASH are:
- The presence of different actors (Private, Public, Business, Civil Society) who are sharing the same vision, working coherently and contributing in a complementary manner to achieve one broader goal;
- Institutionalising WASH in government and private sector is taking place, to create a WASH sector that can sustain itself with less NGO interventions. For example if government Health Officers are trained on sustainable sanitation, they can create demand for it among the population (without NGOs needing subsidy for this). And if private sector is trained on building good quality toilets and people can get a loan so that they can afford it, NGOs don’t need to build infrastructure, and scaling can take place.
- A good facilitating role of NGO CLIP, to facilitate that all parties know their role, train them, and work together on the common goal
Why is acceleration so important? Only with an acceleration approach will we be able to reach full coverage of WASH in 2030, as targeted under SDG 6.