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Resource details

Learning lessons from sector studies: Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya

Author(s): Deverill, Paul  |  Cotton, Andrew (ed)

Publisher: LSHTM | WEDC
Place of publication: London and Loughborough
Year: 2000

Series: WELL Studies in Water, Sanitation and Environmental Health Task 325
Collection(s): WELL


This is a synthesis of lessons learned from programmes funded by DFID and other donors, in water supply, sanitation and environmental health. It reviews recent sector study reports in Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya. Statistics show that a maximum of 43% of the total population in each of the four countries has a safe water supply and a maximum of 58% has safe sanitation. A variety of WS&S sector programmes are operational in these countries. The target audience is DFID advisors, local project partners in government and donor projects, NGOs and consultants involved in project and programme identification.

The main general lessons learned from the combined scoping studies are:

  • The majority of projects and programmes reviewed were not demand-responsive because communities were given neither the authority nor the necessary information to choose the technology and supporting management system for its operation and maintenance. Successful adoption of demand-responsive approaches requires well-trained facilitators, who have access to the detailed information needed by the community. Few of the projects reviewed ensured the inclusion of poor and vulnerable groups within particular communities. There is a clear need to test and disseminate participatory tools which address these issues.
  • The impact of several major programmes could not be assessed due to a lack of baseline data and monitoring systems. The more successful projects were well documented with participatory evaluations proving to be particularly useful. This reinforces the need for adequately trained facilitators competent in the use of appropriate participatory tools.
  • Sanitation, health and hygiene promotion received far less priority than water supply and tended to be treated as "add-ons". This has been a key omission in terms of health impact. An outstanding issue is the need to combine social marketing approaches with those of demand-responsiveness.

Further lessons are identified according to the mode of programme operation:

  • Working with communities (Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda): Participatory techniques (which place due emphasis on the issues of poverty and gender) are central to the implementation of demand-responsive programmes. The technological options were limited and can be assisted by using a cluster approach in which similar projects can benefit from the economies of scale of operation and maintenance tasks.
  • Working with NGOs (Tanzania): The WAMMA Project in Tanzania demonstrates the capacity of the NGO sector to successfully facilitate community participation and to train other facilitators.
  • Working with the private sector: Government policy and organisational culture are significant barriers to increased private sector participation. An additional prohibiting factor is the lack of capacity offered by this sector to providing quality and timely services.
  • Working with government (Uganda): A common understanding and ownership of the programme aims by all stakeholders is desirable which reflects the importance of sustainability. Some of the limitations experienced included the lack of capacity, power and resources of local government to achieve programme objectives within budgetary and time constraints, and the lack of training provided to government extension workers, resulting in their underuse.

Such a critique is difficult since the work reviewed may no longer reflect current practice. However, it is still useful to present lessons learned in the context of current international development priorities. Above all, implementors need to disseminate the results of their successes and failures for the benefit of all.

Communities  |  Kenya  |  Lessons  |  Nigeria  |  Non-governmental organizations (NGO)  |  Private sector  |  Tanzania  |  Uganda