As the CLTS Knowledge Hub, we convened a regional workshop in Arusha, Tanzania, with support from SNV Tanzania.
The event brought together those engaged in rural WASH programming from eight countries across the region (Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) alongside experts working at regional and global levels.
Over the course of five days participants shared experiences, innovations, challenges and learning, and mapped gaps in knowledge with the aim of improving capacity and future learning, and building consensus on the way forward. SNV Tanzania also facilitated a field visit to its Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) project areas in Babati and Karatu districts.
Key issues covered included:
- ‘Last Mile’ groups are those who are not currently reached by sanitation and hygiene programmes (or not able to sustain improved sanitation and hygiene behaviours) due to challenging contexts they live in or because they are vulnerable in some way.
- Little movement up the sanitation ladder in the region, with some people stuck using unimproved and unhygienic toilets.
- Sanitation marketing has seen some pockets of success, but there are no clear examples from the region of successful or large-scale market-based sanitation initiatives.
- Most countries have limited budgets allocated for sanitation (and are over-reliant on donor funding), and there are not enough staff with the necessary capacity to ensure that all communities are reached, and that regular follow-ups and long-term support are provided.
- There are a number of monitoring and evaluation challenges identified in the region, for example, Government monitoring systems rarely collect information on gender, disability, poverty or other indicators related to ‘Last Mile’ groups. Also when it data is collected Government monitoring systems face challenges related to scale, finance and data quality, reliability and timeliness.
- A fundamental issue across the region is that the sector does not prioritise learning from past efforts.
Reaching the ‘Last Mile’
- Improve efforts to identify the ‘Last Mile’ – this should include collecting information on disease burdens amongst these groups and associated costs of inaction to help advocacy efforts.
- Advocate for and develop more inclusive systems and processes.
Moving up the sanitation ladder
- Sequence rural sanitation initiatives based on good analysis of community needs and demand. Affordable options must be available to capitalise on household demand, because it could be difficult to introduce improved toilet options later in the process.
- Promote different options to move up the sanitation ladder, which are targeted to the various market segments.
Strengthening government systems
- Support governments to create an enabling environment for businesses to accelerate the scale of sanitation marketing, and lower the cost of materials. Market-shaping activities that connect the private sector to demand could also be explored.
- Use evidence like budget briefs or costed analyses for institutional triggering to advocate for increased sub-national and national government budget. Where funding is available at sub-national level, this can be leveraged for planning, human resources development, implementation and ongoing monitoring.
Monitoring, evaluation and learning
- In the region, there is a need for an alignment of indicators (across government, development partner and international systems) to enable better use, aggregation and comparison of data, and to align with SDG indicators.
- Strengthen the quality of monitoring systems to include equity, gender, moving up the ladder (results including failures and reach), and more systematic post-ODF sustainability monitoring. This will require both planning and budgeting.
- Process monitoring (e.g. of capacity, resources, use of systems) is important for data reliability. Systematic spot checks on the accuracy of the data collected are recommended.