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Tipping the scale: ODF monitoring and sector capacity

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Yesterday we heard how countries across the region are showing potential for scaling up through expanding successful pilot programmes, forming alliances to deliver WASH programmes, adding sanitation and hygiene initiatives to existing programmes as well as implementing at a larger scale. Today we discussed two particular aspects of sanitation and hygiene programmes that will make universal access more likely: ODF monitoring and sufficient capacity within the sector.

Eddy Perez (WSP) began the session with the proposal from the Sanitation Working Group (as well as country governments and development partners) for the Sustainable Development Goals for sanitation and hygiene.  His presentation emphasise that SDGs focus on universal access (not just scaling up), with a focus on the poorest 40% of the population. Although the highest priority for post-2015 targets is on ending open defecation, the SDGs also include targets on shared sanitation, safe management of faecal sludge and safe disposal of children’s faeces.

Coincidentally, today saw the launch of a WSP publication that further explores the link between open defecation and sanitation with reference to Cambodia

There are country presentations with sharing experiences with monitoring systems and ODF verifications including from Cambodia and Indonesia. Cambodia is planning for monitoring and ODF verification in order to harmonise and align existing tools and their various indicators (Census, 2008, Cambodia Socioeconomic survey, DHS, Commune Database) under the national programme. The planning has started with a context analysis, which will be followed by system M&E design, pilot whether the design is good enough for implementation, replicate nationwide. The plan includes mobile data collection of routine monitoring; district level data spot check and verification; data used and compilation at province level.

Indonesia has around 80,000 villages and so collecting and reporting data in an efficient and accurate way is challenging given the limited resources available. Technology has been used to increase efficiency. The system uses SMS based monitoring: it was piloted in selected districts (2007-2010) by WSP in East Java. In 2011 it was launch at national level and in 2012 scaled up to 9 provinces and 100 million people. Community social maps provide the raw data for monitoring; the data is then transferred to a monthly update in a Community Sanitation Register. The updates are sent as a text message. There is training on the STBM system for field officers and communities can see improvements in their village as the monitoring data published into table graphic and map (www.stbm-indonesia.org)

Monitoring experience in India from WSP

Upneet Singh presented another example from India of the challenge of monitoring at scale (650 000 villages). Issues include weak tracking of limited indicators (expenditures and toilets) rather than sustainability of toilet usage. There is a lack of inventive to collect quality data and poor coordination between different data sources. There is also a lack of timely updates – with the self-reported data showing much higher levels of coverage than the census.
WSP has developed an approach of using mobile-to-web system to monitor behaviour in rural sanitation programs. The example uses smartphones to collect data information; features such as geo-tagging and photograph facilitate quality assurance. The results are available on the website in near real time, within minutes of an interview being completed and presented in a user-friendly format. The SMS-web system allows for better tracking across the results chain and performance benchmarking. This can be undertaken using in-house resources of the Government or through third party contracts. Results can be made available online e.g. through the MDWS website (www.ddws.org) or www.nirmalbharat.org

Evaluation of UNICEF Community Approaches to Total Sanitation

Louise Maule from UNICEF presented the preliminary findings of the UNICEF Community Approaches to Total Sanitation. The CATS approach was developed in 2008 as a set of strategic principles for community based sanitation programmes should try to follow. CATS is implemented in 53 countries and involves a set of principles for community mobilisation for sanitation and hygiene including government ownership, build local capacities, no subsidy directly to households and hygiene promotion should be integrated. An evaluation of CATS is currently being finalised, which is intended to contribute to evidence, learning and accountability to governments and donors. 
The preliminary findings of the evaluation have confirmed that CATS has contributed to achieving fast results in getting OD in government policies and strategies as well as getting partners to buy into principles of CATS as well as to create an enabling environment so that CATS can go to scale. Innovative aspects of CATS implementation include a role of children, School Led Total Sanitation and making links across sectors. CATS has also been successful in leveraging investment of a high level of resources from communities. 
Some of the constraints identified to the CATS approach include the lack of a harmonised approach across the sector can constrain CATS expansion; remote or poor hydro-geological conditions and peri-urban or urban areas are also an emerging concern. Moreover national M&E systems don’t always gather CATS relevant information, particularly on slippage data once a community has been certified.

Capacity building at scale 

In the afternoon we heard about initiatives to support capacity building at scale  - The ‘Mind the Gap’ study (2009), funded by DFID in five countries (Bangladesh, Mali, South Africa, Timor Leste and Zambia) aimed at determining how many and what type of staff is needed for water and sanitation service delivery. The study developed a methodology to measure the human resources (HR) capacity and identify gaps in a way that would allow comparison of datasets between countries for specific job categories. From this study valuable insights were gained and lessons learnt about the challenges in HR development for a sustainable delivery of water and sanitation services. These outcomes informed continued research in six additional countries in Africa (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal and Tanzania, with support from USAID) and four in Asia (Lao PDR, the Philippines, PNG and Sri Lanka, with support from AusAID). We also hear more about the capacity building in PNG, Timor Leste and Indonesia. From Indonesia in particular we heard a very interesting example of how the public sector is building capacity of sanitation entrepreneurs. One stop shops for sanitation are promoted as a model for sanitation businesses; the role of the public sector is to generate demand for sanitation; develop capacity and accredit ‘one stop’ shop providers and promote and monitor quality of trained providers.  The sanitation entrepreneurs respond to demand by ensuring product and service availability to meet local demand at affordable price and acceptable quality

Date: 19 December 2013
Papua New Guinea,
Timor Leste (East Timor),