The solution demonstrates a systematic process of empowering people to hold Govt. accountable for the WATSAN commitments made through Laws, Policies, Sector Plans, Programmes which are rooted into the country’s constitutional framework. The solution being presented is an over arching one that has legal, institutional, policy and communication dimensions. This solution has huge potential to address WASH sector governance problem which is the root cause and major source of various other problems deterring the progress on WATSAN goals.
RAMISETTY MURALI & PENTAREDDY RAJAMOHAN REDDY
water and sanitation targets, WASH sector
The solution demonstrates a systematic process of empowering people to hold Govt. accountable for the WATSAN commitments made through Laws, Policies, Sector Plans, Programmes which are rooted into the country’s constitutional framework. The solution being presented is an over arching one that has legal, institutional, policy and communication dimensions. This solution has huge potential to address WASH sector governance problem which is the root cause and major source of various other problems deterring the progress on WATSAN goals. Those who are suffering for want of basic water and services must act in a smart and responsible way to make the mandated govt. agencies work effectively to cater to their needs. Establishing such a relationship between the citizens and state is very fundamental for not only achieving the goals of water and sanitation but also for the development in all other spheres. The core strength of this solution is the process of making citizens and state behave mutually in a more accountable, transparent and responsive manner. The solution is a systematic graduating process composed of five critical stages of progress sequentially linked. Firstly the communities are sensitized to demand for 100% WATSAN coverage. The next step is to educate the people about different WATSAN policies, laws and programmes of Govt. Further, to assess the actual implementation of the commitments the community organizations use tools of Right to Information Act, Social Audits & Public Meetings. After assessing the needs and gaps the CBOs are guided to represent their WATSAN issues to the concerned Govt. Agencies and also seek intervention of the local elected representatives. This is followed up with repeat visits and meetings. Such a systematic process compels the Govt. to initiate time bound action to meet the WATSAN demands of the community. The solution achieved through such people centered process guarantees its sustainability and replicability.
39,200 population from 10,440 households of 109 villages in Tadwai & Gudur Blocks of Warangal District in the State of AP, INDIA. This is predominantly Tribal area in-habited by Koya & Lambada communities characterized by Poverty, Marginalization and lack of access to basic WATSAN services.
This initiative forms part of a global Governance and Transparency Fund (GTF) Programme being implemented under DFID support by WaterAid and FAN in 16 countries through 27 local CSO partners. Programme aims at capacity building of the civil society and community based organizations in Asia, Africa and Central America to engage in effective evidence based dialogue with decision makers in Water & Sanitation sector. Improved governance and accountability in WASH sector is the key driver of this programme. Modern Architects for Rural India (MARI) as a grassroots CSO, partnered with the Global GTF Programme and took the leadership of contributing to the above objective by implementing the programme design at the local level. MARI has organized the local communities into 109 village based WATSAN committees, federated them at block level which lead the process of demanding accountability and responsiveness of the Govt. agencies to fulfil the WATSAN commitments and entitlements to people.
Aiming at improved governance in WASH sector the intervention has been designed and already implemented at the local level with limited population coverage as mentioned under ‘location’ details. Collecting the baseline information, situational analysis of water & sanitation status, defining change targets in the local context, community capacity development, formation of community organizations, mobilizing communities for collective action of demanding accountability and responsiveness of service providers, problem solving action by the Govt. agencies responsible for WatSan services and capacitating communities for responsible use of newly provided WatSan infrastructure is the progress made in developing the solution. Full cycle of preliminary testing of the solution is completed and it has given very positive results. We are also in the process of expanding coverage, documenting and disseminating our learning and move upwards to make a higher level impact.
In the geographical area where the solution is being tested, 90% of the households do not have access to Toilets and other basic Sanitation services. 40% of the people are drinking water from very unsafe sources. 90% of the schools do not have functional WatSan facilities. This is only an example of largely prevailing problems in the country, particularly the geographical areas where the poor and marginalized are living. On the other hand the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Department, Education Department have made huge investment from public exchequer for providing WatSan services to the people. Obviously there is a huge gap between the investments and results which can be attributed to the reasons of lack of accountability, integrity, efficiency, etc. This scenario demands for Good Governance in the WASH sector. How do we achieve the good governance? This needs strong CSOs & CBOs capable of influencing WASH policies and practices, same is addressed by this solution.
The solution has generated broadly two kinds of results. Firstly it demonstrates a systematic and practical step by step process of achieving good governance in WASH sector. Good governance is a laudable aspiration that can be concretely achieved only when we have a workable process. Such processes should be locally rooted and internalized to ensure long-term sustainability of the same. This solution presents the range of communication methods, advocacy tools and community mobilization processes to be used for achieving improved governance. Secondly the solution has effectively worked in meeting the WatSan needs of the local people. For eg: as part of the process of demanding transparency local communities could file 43 applications under Right to Information Act and already accessed information asked under 32 applications. Govt. has responded with Rs.37 millions investment to meet WatSan demands of people. Regular mechanisms of addressing WatSan grievances are established.
The impact of the solution can be measured with two sets of indicators. The first set of indicator relate to the qualitative changes achieved in WASH sector governance. This includes i. capability of CSOs, Community leaders and Govts to ensure maximum results for the public investments on WatSan development; ii. CSOs and citizens are able to scrutinize Govt. and public institutions and hold them to account to ensure their rights, the rule of law and entitlements; iii. Govt. policies and institutions are responsive to provide sustainable access to WatSan services; iv. Govts. investments in the sector are well monitored and free from corruption; v. Communities are making responsible use of newly created WatSan infrastructure and reducing the burden of repeat investment on the Govt. Agencies. The second set of indicators relate to adoptation and spread of the community led good governance approach by other CSOs and peoples’ organizations within India and South Asia.
This solution is all about asserting civil society and citizens’ voices to improve governance with particular focus on WASH sector. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and their networks, development partners working for WASH goals and good governance, National Governments, National & International financing agencies would be very much interested to learn about this solution and adapt it to the specific context of their programmes and regions. Sowing of good quality seeds in degraded soils would meet with consequences of low germination, poor growth and finally low or no yields. Similarly good investments and programmes grounded in a situation of poor governance would not really generate good returns. Thus poor governance is a cross cutting issue for countries, regions and different stakeholders. As this solution demonstrates practical and effective ways of improving the governance, it will surely have value and relevance for the entire range of stakeholders in the WASH sector.
The solution can be adapted in all the diversified contexts where ‘governance’ is a deterrent to development process. The faith in the solution comes from a good understanding of rights and responsibilities of the State actors and citizens. The solution needs civil society organizations who are capable of facilitating and organizing the communities to collectively work for good governance. Communities should have strong leadership and willingness to invest their time and energy to engage in the processes of demanding for good governance. People should be able to feel righteous to question the ‘duty bearers’ rather than considering them as recipients of Govt’s doles and incentives. State should be open and ensure freedom as well as create opportunities (eg: Right to Information Act, Social Audit, etc.) for citizens for engaging in the good governance processes. From our experience the support of local media and local bodies of governance plays a very important role in securing results for the civil society and citizens’ efforts aimed at good governance.
The international support agencies, development partners need to invest in capacity building of CSOs and community organization so that they can effectively engage in good governance processes. The Research and expert organizations need to be mobilized for developing resource material, indicators, monitoring framework to strengthen the community lead good governance processes.
It may not be possible to exactly recommend uniform ‘costs’ for all contexts. This process of empowering communities for good governance in WASH sector very much depends on the social, cultural and political conditions of the given area. This solution development process that MARI is working at is designed for a period of 5 years covering a population of 39000 with the total estimated investments of INR 1.50 Crores (US$ 300,000). 18 staff are involved in implementing this solution. However the experience and capacities gained from the past 3 years process, we can definitely cut short the time and investments if we have to take this solution to a new area.
MARI has been involved for the past 10 years in implementing the projects aimed at delivering water and sanitation services. During this process we realised that the need and demand for WASH services is so huge that it cannot be met without ensuring transparency, accountability, responsiveness and efficiency of service providers. The Global GTF Programme designed by WaterAid and FAN under DFID’s support gave us the opportunities of developing our organizational capacities to engage in good governance development process. This solution does offer good learning to other civil society organizations working for Water & Sanitation and Good Governance objectives.
MARI has secured funding from WaterAid and FAN to continue to work on this solution for two more years. Currently we are documenting our experiences to come-out with learning products which would be used to convince and market the solution among the other CSOs and development agencies. As a CSO MARI is working with several International and National development agencies and we are using these contacts to mobilize support for replicating this solution its other development areas like health, education and agriculture. MARI began to motivate and mobilize other CSOs through FANSA networking process. Building such commitment among a good number of CSOs to work on good governance agenda will improve the funding opportunities for scaling up the coverage under this approach of evolving solutions to good governance crisis, particularly in WASH sector.
Mr.Ramisetty Murali, Secretary
Mr.P.Rajamohan, Project Manager
GTF Project of MARI
Modern Architects for Rural India (MARI)
H.No.1-8-499, Behind Ekasila Park, Balasamudram,
Hanamkonda-506001, WARANGAL, Andhra Pradesh, INDIA
Tel: +91-870-2571208, 2552928
RegionalCoordinator (GTF-FANSA) -South Asia Region
FreshWater Action Network-South Asia (FANSA)
H.No:2-127/4 (1st Floor), Plot No.4,
EastKalyanpuri, Uppal, HYDERABAD-500 039 (AP) India
Phone: +91-40-64543830 Mobile: +91-9494412789
- Annual Reports for the year 2009-10 and 2010-11
- Case studies
- Powerpoint presentation of the project results and focus
- Self expalanatory Photographs
- Local media coverage on school sanitation of the State of Andhra Pradesh