Learning from Longterm Strategic Planning in a District

Globally there are many challenges to achieving Sustainable Developent Goal (SDG) targets focusing on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), including lack of funding, inadequate coordination across stakeholders and sectors, and week long-term operations and maintenance. The Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) has seen these challenges first-hand in Ethiopia, and the lack of strong operation and maintenance is a significant issue that results in money being invested in infrastructure but with minimal long-term benefit to communities.

To mitigate some of these challenges and achieve higher service-delivery levels aligned with SDG targets 6.1 and 6.2, a district-wide, long-term strategy was collectively identified as an important early step to support improved and sustained water and sanitation service delivery. MWA, with members CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Hungry, IRC WASH, Helvetas, WaterAid, and World Vision, embarked on a process to support government in three focus districts (woredas) of the Amhara National Regional State, to develop long-term, costed, district-wide strategic plans for how to achieve full coverage of WASH by 2030.

Objectives of this learning document are to:

  • Share with WASH sector actors the collaborative planning process undertaken
  • Share lessons about what went according to the envisioned process versus what was changed during the long-term planning process
  • Provide a model for government and WASH stakeholders to replicate or mainstream this collaborative planning approach.

A previously published paper provides information about the motivation to develop long-term plans and the envisioned process, from start to finish, for long-term planning.