A Roadmap for System Strengthening for Professionalized Rural Water Maintenance Services

The principal hypothesis of the Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership (SWS)  is that failure to provide long-term, sustainable services is a systems failure — a failure of institutions, policies, and regulation — and their application to allow for the effective functioning of rural water services. Effective and efficient maintenance forms a critical component of service delivery once initial capital investments are made. SWS partners engaged in both the delivery of, and research into, improved maintenance provision: IRC, operating in two regions of Ethiopia and one district in Uganda focusing on government-led maintenance systems; FundiFix, a social enterprise, working in two counties in Kenya with support from the University of Oxford; and Whave, which also operates as a social enterprise in 10 districts across all four regions of Uganda.

This report brings together SWS project partners’ learnings generated based on primary data, interview transcripts, network analyses, operational reports, and other published reports. It also draws on University of Colorado Boulder graduate student research into different aspects of systems analysis and applied methodologies, including system dynamics modeling and qualitative comparative analysis. The result is an analysis of common trends, gaps, and lessons of the factors and system behaviors relating to maintenance provision.