Providing support to city governments in West Africa to improve and expand water and sanitation services to meet critical needs. Urbanization in West Africa is challenging municipalities’ ability to deliver consistent and quality water and sanitation services as well as make improvements toward the water and sanitation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In both Benin and Cote d’Ivoire, millions of people lack access to basic or safely managed drinking water and sanitation services. Furthermore, cities in these countries struggle to accelerate their service delivery to meet SDG targets for universal quality, accessibility, and availability. The West Africa Municipal Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (MuniWASH) Activity focuses on improving financial viability and sustainability, technical and operational performance, and governance and management oversight to bridge the gap between country national priorities and the SDG goals.
The objective of MuniWASH is to support city governments, national directorates and agencies, utilities, and service providers in Benin and Cote d’Ivoire and to sustain and expand city-wide WASH services to fill critical needs that reach poor and underserved community members in priority municipalities. The activity also identifies opportunities to provide technical assistance to other African countries to improve and expand urban WASH services. MuniWASH is collaborating with the African Water Association (AfWA) as a learning partner to capture lessons and help guide urban WASH programming.
Advancing urban WASH service delivery in West Africa requires institutional strengthening, planning, data, evidence-based decision-making, and financing at national, regional, and municipal levels. MuniWASH works with government ministries and agencies from national to decentralized levels and with multiple service providers (public and private) in Benin and Cote d’Ivoire to improve coordination, create an enabling environment, and help municipalities become more effective coordinators to achieve shared goals and build mutual accountability. The approach emphasizes the need for improved enabling environment and service provider performance (technical, operational, and financial) to expand customer access and increase opportunities for investment.
MuniWASH uses interventions that invest in systems strengthening, promote good governance, and achieve sustainable performance improvements through the following service areas:
Increase financial sustainability of and private sector investment in water and sanitation utilities and service providers through: Improving net revenues through higher bill collection rates and cost optimization; formulating performance improvement plans; developing business models and capital investment plans; expanding sanitation service providers’ access to loans and lines of credit; facilitating transactions for large-scale investments in water supply and decentralized fecal sludge treatment systems.
Improve operational reliability of water and sanitation utilities/service providers through: Assisting utilities and service providers to adopt techniques for continuous performance improvement; facilitating peer-to-peer and customer-client interaction; helping service providers make better use of data and information technology to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs), improve customer service, and test and scale new products and services; and improving the enabling environment.
Enhance municipal water and sanitation sector governance and management capacity through: Building municipal and government capacity in WASH planning and budgeting as well as in managing, regulating, and monitoring WASH service delivery; supporting use of financial and technical resources from ministries and donors to improve services for the poor and underserved; improving transparency and accountability between municipalities, utilities and service providers; and facilitating collaboration with national and municipal associations to improve ability to offer trainings, advisory services, and advocacy skills.
Increase regional learning and knowledge sharing to replicate successful approaches through: Establishing a comprehensive knowledge management and learning agenda in collaboration with AfWA to capture lessons and guide urban WASH programming; developing and publishing learning products; and hosting regular stakeholder events focused on financial, technical, human resource, institutional capacity, and governance challenges to expanding quality WASH services to poor and underserved citizens in urban and peri-urban areas.