In June, the SWA Secretariat organised South-South learning on WASH in schools, wherein a request was made by the partners to learn more about the ongoing Sanitation Services Delivery (SSD) project in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, and Ghana.
In response to this request, the SWA Secretariat facilitated another South-South learning which addressed the technical, financial, strategic, and partnership aspects of the SSD project. Around 70 participants, including governments, technical and financial partners, and the private sector, attended this webinar on 16 July. The intervention was made by the Project Manager in Benin and complemented by representatives of USAID and the Ministry of Health in Benin.
The SSD project received USAID funding for an initial period from October 2014 to September 2019 and is currently extended to September 2020. The total funding is $17.8 million for activities in the three project implementation countries. The implementing partners are Population Services International (PSI) and Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP).
Benin has an extremely low rate of access to sanitation, due to factors such as low availability of technologies that can be adapted to the needs of low-income households; demand and supply financing constraints; weak government coordination of the sector; and low private sector capacity. To address this gap, USAID/West Africa signed a cooperation agreement with PSI to implement the regional Sanitation Service Delivery program, which aims to foster a sanitation market with increased private sector capacity to provide services to low-income consumers.
With two communes of intervention at the start, the project currently covers 30 communes, with 3 more in the process of being integrated in 2020. The project puts in place several mechanisms to ensure its sustainability and success:
- The project is based on sector strategies, in particular the strategy in charge of hygiene and basic sanitation in urban and peri-urban areas, which considers sanitation marketing.
- The synergy of action between authorities at various levels: the government draws up the strategic plans/policies governing the sub-sector; the local authorities apply these plans and support the project in the quality control of the works and the creation of demand.
- The "sanitation marketing" approach complements CLTS and allows for the scaling up of sanitation. Both approaches are included in the strategic documents for hygiene and basic sanitation in Urban and Rural areas.
- A "Finance Scan" enabled the project team to meet with actors from the finance sector (Banks and microfinance structures) to identify their willingness to finance the supply and demand of hygiene and sanitation products and services.
- A "sustainability plan" was developed during a workshop involving all stakeholders. Through this plan, stakeholders (communes, micro-entrepreneurs, microfinance institutions, the Ministry of Health through the Directorate of Basic Sanitation) committed to take concrete actions to continue the project activities after its closure.
- For the "scaling up" to other communes in Benin, the project team is involved in an advocacy process with the authorities of the Ministry of Decentralization and Finance to ensure that part of the Community Development Support funds (FADEC) intended for the communes is allocated to basic sanitation to enable them to improve the hygiene and sanitation component of their communes.
- The "Sanitation Credit" is based on a careful selection of eligible households, so that repayment rates remain high and the financing mechanism becomes autonomous and sustainable.
- The biggest "motivating factor" for the actors in the supply chain is the fact that they are in a business that allows them to earn a living while contributing to improving the environmental conditions of households.
This learning has already led to a bilateral exchange between the SSD project in Benin and the "Sanitation Market Development" project implemented by Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) Madagascar. The SWA Secretariat will explore further South-South learning, particularly on the political and financial aspects of water, sanitation, and hygiene.