Improving urban WASH service delivery in West Africa requires institutional strengthening

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 February 2020:

Providing support to city governments in West Africa to improve and expand water and sanitation services to meet critical needs

Urbanization in West Africa is challenging municipalities’ ability to deliver consistent and quality water and sanitation services as well as make improvements toward the water and sanitation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In both Benin and Cote d’Ivoire, millions of people lack access to basic or safely managed drinking water and sanitation services. Furthermore, cities in these countries struggle to accelerate their service delivery to meet SDG targets for universal quality, accessibility, and availability.

The West Africa Municipal Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (MuniWASH) Activity focuses on improving financial viability and sustainability, technical and operational performance, and governance and management oversight to bridge the gap between country national priorities and the SDG goals.

OBJECTIVE AND APPROACH

The objective of MuniWASH is to support city governments, national directorates and agencies, utilities, and service providers in Benin and Cote d’Ivoire and to sustain and expand city-wide WASH services to fill critical needs that reach poor and underserved community members in priority municipalities.

The activity also identifies opportunities to provide technical assistance to other African countries to improve and expand urban WASH services. MuniWASH is collaborating with the African Water Association (AfWA) as a learning partner to capture lessons and help guide urban WASH programming.

Advancing urban WASH service delivery in West Africa requires institutional strengthening, planning, data, evidence-based decision-making, and financing at national, regional, and municipal levels.

MuniWASH works with government ministries and agencies from national to decentralized levels and with multiple service providers (public and private) in Benin and Cote d’Ivoire to improve coordination, create an enabling environment, and help municipalities become more effective coordinators to achieve shared goals and build mutual accountability.

The approach emphasizes the need for improved enabling environment and service provider performance (technical, operational, and financial) to expand customer access and increase opportunities for investment.

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