The challenge of maintaining services for large numbers of fragmented, geographically dispersed community-managed rural water facilities is well recognized. Conventional approaches to maintenance have largely been based on voluntary arrangements, with the burden of tasks often taken on by poorly trained or supported community committees. This model has struggled to adequately maintain rural water supply infrastructure over time, with small technical problems becoming more complex and costly to repair, resulting in unnecessary downtime and service disruption.
This policy brief is aimed at development partners (donors, implementing NGOs, and charities) and summarizes the main findings from USAID’s Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership (SWS) system-strengthening interventions aimed at scaling up professionalized maintenance in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. The brief is based on an analysis of the aggregated learning generated by SWS project partners through the coding and analysis of 98 project documents and other SWS case raw data and learning outputs against 14 different themes. It also includes recommendations for different sets of actors engaged in either financing or implementing interventions in rural water supply.