Many well intention NGOs, or governments, that have created infrastructure, do not keep records of the long term functionality of the clean water projects they create, and do not create a sustainable management solution to prevent this from happening. The approach appears to be one of providing relief – solving the problem of lack of potable water but only for a short period of time until something breaks down, which is inevitable.
HANWASH will require a sustainable approach and sustainable solutions to developing potable water infrastructure throughout Haiti. HANWASH does not intend to become a water utility company to maintain this infrastructure. Instead, as in developed countries, a responsible management system is required as a necessary component to any HANWASH developed water systems, including a fee to be paid by consumers to obtain the potable water. Those funds will then be used to pay for the management and maintenance of the system.
Taking “ownership” of WASH service in a community will include:
- election of a local WASH committee
- inclusion in project planning including technology selection, life-cycle costing, on-going operational costs, fees, maintenance and rehabilitation
- engagement of local entrepreneurs for parts of the WASH supply chain
- community leadership to drive WASH habit change
- commitment to sanitation supply chain
Building the ability to manage WASH services includes:
- acquisition of skills in accounting and financial management
- development of Standard Operating Procedures
- training to include maintenance and operation procedures, oversight of WASH committee and management of sanitation supply chain
Ensuring behavior to maintain sustainability includes:
- Identification of behaviors to be changed
- Influence change through awareness, incentives, training, and performance measurements
Sustainability is about whether WASH services and good hygiene practices continue to work and deliver lasting benefits over time. There is no time limit – ‘lasting’ implies ‘forever’. However for reference, agreements between UNICEF and national governments stipulate a minimum of 10 years.
By reviewing and documenting the present baseline condition and comparing it to what is needed in the future to ensure sustainability, HANWASH is able to assess the gap between current conditions and where it wants to be. HANWASH will then seek to understand enabling environment conditions, such as a national pricing policy for water, subsidy policies for aspects of WASH, guidelines for latrines, official programs for eradicating open defecation, or roles and authority of existing institutions that could constrain the transformation.
With all of these factors in consideration, three software components are crucial for sustainability: