Aguaconsult / German Toilet Organization / Sustainable Sanitation Alliance / Viva con Agua / Water Integrity Network / Welthungerhilfe

WASHaholics Anonymous: The first step on the road to recovery

Thursday 31 August | 11.00-12.30 | Room: NL 353

This session will showcase the Sustainable Services Initiative (SSI), a collaboration between multiple stakeholders working to improve the provision of sustainable water and sanitation services for everyone.  The complexity of the challenge requires action to: enhance government leadership of sector planning processes; strengthen and use country systems; use a single information and mutual accountability platform; and to build sustainable financing systems. The SSI also recognises high levels of interconnectivity and, by implication interdependency, between water and sanitation and, for example, food security, nutrition and livelihoods systems. The session will provide opportunity to organizations that are testing these approaches to share their experience of the viability of a systems change approach in fragile or stressed operational contexts; the challenges faced by community management when it is part of a broader complex system and cannot be changed in isolation; tools to assist smaller-scale service providers become more professional and seek opinion on the scope and design of a platform that improves mutual accountability. Bringing together governments, development partners, civil society and research organisations to discuss the issues raised in an interactive and consultative forum will provide guidance on how to support the initiative and scale practices that enhance sustainable services for all.


11.00 Welcome
Thilo Panzerbieter
, German Toilet Organization

11.05 Introduction of the "Sustainable Services Initiative (SSI)"
Christian Wiebe, Vica con Agua

11.15 Striving for Sustainable WASH Services for All
Ajay Paul, Welthungerhilfe

11:25 Strengthening and using country systems in Uganda
Samuel Emeru, Welthungerhilfe

11.35 Interconnectivity and Interdependence - The challenge of changing systems in Ghana
Harold Lockwood, Aguaconsult

11.45 Challenges in the Kenya Water Sector
Robert Gakubia, Water Services Regulatory Board, Kenya

11.50 The Integrity Management Toolbox from Kenya
Lotte Feuerstein, WIN

12:00 Q&A and Polling

12:20 Summary and Wrap Up
Vida Duti

12:30 Close of session


How sustainable are your WASH services? The interactive seminar showcased the Sustainable Services Initiative (SSI), outlined WASH sector challenges in Uganda, Ghana and Kenya and introduced ways to overcome them by taking into account interconnectivities and interdependencies between WASH and other sectors.

Building on “WASHaholic Anonymous – Confessions of Failure and How to Reform” in 2016, numerous WASHaholics came together again in 2017 to make “the first step on the road to recovery” and towards WASH services that last. Moderated by Thilo Panzerbieter (Executive Director, German Toilet Organization), government representatives, development partners, civil society and research organisations discussed the issues raised in an interactive and consultative forum (via real time polling) provided guidance on how to support the initiative and scale practices that enhance sustainable services for all.

Christian Wiebe, (Divisional Manager of WASH projects and founding member, Viva con Agua) introduces the Sustainable Services Initiative

  • “We face a new generation of private donors and WASH-supporters who want to go beyond simply financing hardware, but want to promote services that last. We cannot do things like we’ve done them before”

Ajay Paul (Thematic Coordinator of the SSI and Emergency Response Director, Welthungerhilfe) lays out how sustainable WASH services are affected by operational context

  • “Expectations towards sustainability change along the continuum from relief to development i.e. the context we are working in. In most of WHH-contexts, we are pulled into weak and fragile operational contexts – a pro poor approach of Welthungerhilfe.”

Samuels Emeru (WASH Project Manager, Welthungerhilfe) explains challenges and approaches of Welthungerhilfe in Moroto District, Uganda

  • “The operational context and a comprehensive analysis is key for sustainability planning and the identification of the gaps. Few partners are willing to implement and fund WASH in communities with fragile operational context - support local solutions with local people.”

Harold Lockwood (Director, Aguaconsult) looks at the CWSA reform process in Ghana

  • "Ghana’s Water sector is rooted in CBM for 20 years - a long history of operational autonomy. But are they victims of their own success? Lessons learnt among others are not doing it alone, looking at the sector level not only at service delivery."

Engineer Robert Gakubia (Chief Executive Officer, Water Services Regulatory Board, Kenya) outlines challenges in Kenya’s water sector

  • “Kenya faces challenges in the rural sector which has not yet fully benefitted from many of the governance reforms. There is a need for accountability, because the government spends tax money."

Lotte Feuerstein (Programme Manager, Water Integrity Network) introduces the Integrity Management Toolbox for small water supply systems

  • “With no oversight, there is a danger that community managed systems are captured by local elites. WE engage with national and county government to operationalize support mechanisms for small water systems within the local government.”

Vida Duti (Ghana Country Director, IRC) summarizes the session and makes closing remarks

  • “Donors want to do real investments in the future. If we want to change we need the broader picture, because systems don’t work in isolation.”