The RWSSFDB advocates at all levels of its project cycle following key points and ensures that they are fully met and entertained:
: A demand led participatory approach;
- RWSSFDB is implementing a genuine demand led or responsive participatory approach. Fund Board offers the consumers a choice of wide varities of service levels and technical options as long as they are ready to share their part of in-kind and cash contribution in a proportion to the total costs of the scheme.
: Increase community capacity to sustain the project;
- Through the early phase of project identification, planning to implementation, RWSSFDB put mandatory thrust of community involvement. In each successive steps of the project cycle they are groomed by support organization to be capable and qualified planner and program manager to handle a micro-project as well as to replicate and sustain them through functional operation and maintenance system.
: Enhancement of the role of women in all aspects of the project;
In rural Nepal, women's shoulder the burden of managing the total water demand of a household. Disparity on traditionally prevailing gender role has continuously forcing them to fetch water, take care of laundry, wash dishes, clean house, prepare meals, rare and care children as well as often be a helping hand on farming. As a primary actor of water and sanitation their role in the project is enhanced through active participation in all aspects and activities, including in decision making process.
: Integration of hygiene and sanitation education with technically, environmentally and operationally sustainable water supply.
- Ultimate goal of RWSSFDB is to improve the health of communities through bringing potable water closer to their homes and promoting hygiene and sanitation activities. To continue the better hygiene and sanitation practices of a community, it ensure at all levels of project cycle a technically, environmentally and operationally sustainable water supply system.
The Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Fund Development Board has completed two Projects namely RWSSP-I and RWSSP-II
The objectives of the First Project(RWSSP-I) are as follows:
- Delivery of sustainable health and hygiene services through improvement in water supply and sanitation;
- Improving incomes of women through time saving as water is brought closer to their dwellings; and
- Improve the capabilities of sector institution both government and non-government.
The objectives for the Second Project(RWSSP-II) are as Follows:
- Improve rural water supply and sanitation sector institutional performance and main tream the "Fund Board" approach in the government's system.
- Support communities to form inclusive water supply and sanitation users groups that can plan, implement, and operate drinking water and sanitation infrastructure that deliver sustainable health, hygiene and productivity benefits to rural households.
- To take only facilitating roles and keep the organization small and effectice;
- To establish self-managed community institutions and strengthen the capacities of the community and assist it in project identification, planning, implementing and managiing the project; and
- To mobilize support organizations like NGOs and private sector organizations to support the community in capacity building and implementation of the project.
Board's Distinct Approach and Guiding Principles
Central theme of the Board approach lies in increasing sense of ownership among the local communities towards the WSS schemes for smooth implementation and ensuring higher level of sustainability of the WSS schemes. RWSSP-II has pioneered several innovative and distinctive approaches in RWSS sector in Nepal, with visible differences in quality of the process and results of WSS cycle compared to the traditional top down approaches. Such distinctive features of Board approach include:
Adoption of Demand -driven and participatory approach;
Improved coordination, linkages and partnership building with local authorities and other stakeholders;
Capacity development of communities, governmental and non-governmental organizations;
Focus on community empowerment through various capacity development activities at community level (e.g., training and exposure);
Mobilisation of community contribution to the total cost of WSS schemes and O&M funds for ensuring ownership and sustainability of the WSS schemes;
- Adoption of community procurement for involving community members in quality control of construction materials;
Concentrated efforts to improving livelihoods (jeevika) of WSS users through facilitation of economic activities and market linkages;
Contribution to improving governance, accountability and transparency in project activities at all levels through Social Accountability (Jagran) Program;
Promoting social inclusion and equity issues in WSS, health and hygiene;
Cost-effective services through engagement of local communities and localized technical services;
Provision of Sanitation Revolving Loan Fund (SRLF) managed by the WSS users committees;
Inclusion of Post-Implementation Phase (after completion of project) for two years as another measure of sustainability of WSS scheme;
Provision of WSS Schemes Insurance – RWSSP II has been the first project in Nepal to start (and institutionalize) this innovative approach as one of the measures to ensure sustainability of the WSS schemes
The Board provides technical, institutional and financial support to SOs and communities to implement rural water supply and sanitation schemes and other related activities. For the initial two years, the Board operated ionly in two development regions- Central and Western. Eastern region has been added in the third year and the remaining two regions- Mid western and Far-western- in the fourth year. To increase ownership and sustainability, beneficiary communities, represented by Water Supply and Sanitation Users' Committees (WSUCs), implement schemes with the assistance of SOs. The community based demand-driven approach to scheme identification, design, construction, operation and maintenance moves the emphasis from the order to increase beneficiaries participation in decision-making, in implementing their decisions and in sharing the benefits of the schemes.
The project takes an integrated approach to delivering inclusive and sustainable water supply and sanitation services including associated software activities. Apart from water supply and sanitation, other programme components include institutional development, capacity building and skill development, women empowerment, social capital formation and mobilization, social accountability (Jagran Karyakram) and economic development (Jeevika Karyakram) that make distinct from other actors working in WASH sector of Nepal.
The Board follows a scheme cycle of about 36 calendar months required from the selection of SOs and schemes to the completion of schemes. The scheme cycle takes into account the seasons, harvests and holidays, and their influence on site accessibility, water source yield measurement, availability of labor, and conditions and timing for construction, as well as time needed to process the selection of SOs and schemes, the development and implementation phase proposals and the contracts. Each financial year a new batch of schemes with a new scheme cycle is introduced. Each scheme-cycle consists of four main phases as briefly described below:
The Pre-development Phase of a scheme lasts about 12 months and begins in October of any given year. Its main objective is to identify and select SOs and schemes that meet Board's eligibility criteria to enter into partnership between the Board, SOs and communities. Support organizations selected for any one batch are retained in the following batch subject to their satisfactory performance. Additional SOs are selected in each new batch depending on the availability of schemes. The selection is made transparently through public announcement in the month of October each year, adopting comprehensive screening procedures, including site verifications, laid down in the manuals. The selected SOs submit pre-feasibility studies of schemes in collaboration with needy and wil-ling communities, and in consultation with concerned village and district development committees, for Board appraisal. The schemes are reviewed against Board's eligibility criteria, which includes on-site appraisals, before they are approved for Board financing. Upon approval of the schemes, the SOs submit proposals for community development activities. The proposals form the basis for the preparation and finalization of development phase contracts between the Board and the SOs. The SOs are required to inform and consult with the concerned village and district development committees on all future activities in the communities.
The Development Phase lasts about 12 months and begins in November of the second year with development phase contracts concluded between the Board and the SOs. Under the contracts the Board provides financing for staff, overheads, two lump sums: one for the sanitation revolving loan fund (SRLF), the other to reimburse the SOs for their costs incurred for pre-feasibility studies of the approved schemes, and costs for other miscellaneous activities. The contract includes a comprehensive terms of reference for the SOs for activities to be undertaken under the development phase. Payments to the SOs are made in three parts, linked to the completion of specific tasks under the contracts.
The development phase activities include: orientation and training to SOs' staff; community preparation; and finalization of tri-partite contracts between the Board, SOs and communities. The SOs implement community development activities, which include HSE, NFE (optional), preparation of community action planning (CAP) for the implementation and management of the schemes, legal registration of water water supply and sanitation users' groups (WSUGs) and formation of water supply and sanitation users' committees (WSUCs), discussions and community decisions on technical and service level options, detailed design of the schemes and preparation of the implementation phase proposals. During this phase, the communities open bank accounts, collect cash contributions to meet part of the construction cost, and also the first year's operation and maintenance cost in advance. Promotion and construction of household latrines are also started.
The implementation phase proposals form the basis for the preparation and finalization of implementation phase contracts. Only those communities who successfully complete the development phase activities, and are willing to participate in the implementation phase, submit implementation phase proposals.
The Implementation Phase lasts about 13 months and begins in August of the second year. Tripartite implementation phase contracts are concluded between the Board, SOs and the communities, represented by WSUCs.
Under the contracts, the Board provides two types of financing - one for the construction of water supply schemes (non-local materials, skilled labor, and transport) and for other complementary activities, and the other for SO staff and overheads. The implementation phase activities include: training to SOs' staff and community members; procurement of non-local materials and transportation; collection of local materials; construction of water supply schemes; advance the promotion and construction of household and school latrines; establishment of women's technical support services for income generating activities; and source protection.
Payments are made to two separate accounts: construction cost to SO-community joint accounts, and community development cost to SO accounts. Both payments are made in two parts for construction, and three parts for community development, linked to the completion of specific tasks under the contracts. The contract also includes a comprehensive terms of reference for the communities and SOs for the activities to be undertaken under the implementation phase.
The outcome of the implementation phase is the consolidation of all development and implementation phase activities, a completed and functioning water supply and sanitation scheme, and trained WSUC, VMW and community members to operate and maintain the scheme.
The Post Implementation (Follow-up) Phase lasts for 24 months after completion of the scheme. The primary objective of this phase is to follow-up on sustainability factors that include social, environment, institutional, finanical and technical matters. During this phase SO will conduct quarterly follow-up sustainability monitoring units and provide technical support required to the community.
The Board is principally agreed
to reduce and limit the scheme cycle duration to 24 calendar months. In last
few years Pre-development Phase is reduced to 5 months, Development Phase is
reduced to 9 months and Implementation Phase to 10 months without
compromising on expected outputs and outcomes of the project.
Support Organization Eligibility Criteria
To ensure that only competent and qualified SOs are selected to work in partnership with the Board and communities, the Board transparently applies the following eligibility criteria for the SO selection:
- Evidence of legal registration of the SO;
- Constitutional provision of the SO to engage in rural water supply and sanitation or rural development activities;
- Updated, audited, and certified accounts;
- Staffing capacity for completion of the proposed activities or have the demonstrated ability to procure such staff
- Proven track record of at least two years in participatory rural water supply and sanitation, and/or related community development activities; and
Each new SO is evaluated by the Technical Appraisal Committee (TAC) of the Board and assessed at the field, particularly concerning its track record and staffing capacity before selection, using a ranking system provided in the implementation manuals. TAC recommends top-ranking SOs in required number to the Board members for approval.
Role of Women in Scheme Implementation
The Board upholds the importance of women involvement in all stages of a scheme cycle, because they are the main collectors, users and managers of household water. At the same time, they are the ones who influence family sanitary habits through their central role in family hygiene, child care and food preparation. For this reason, the Board promotes the role of women in five key areas:
(i) Women are guaranteed representation in WSUCs, which must have at least three women members selected by women, and preferably one to undertake the responsibility of treasurership;
(ii) HSE and NFE activities focus on women;
(iii) Women are encouraged to take advantage of women's technical support services program, providing specific skill and management training to increase the scope of income generating activities, and help women gain access to formal credit systems;
(iv) Women are encouraged to form women tapstand groups to collect monthly operation and maintenance fees, and to maintain, cleanliness around tapstands; and
(v) the selection and training of women maintenance workers.
Scheme Eligibility Criteria
Each scheme accepted for financing has to meet the following eligibility criteria as presented in the Rules:
- A scheme must meet one or more of the following need and economic viability criteria:
- The benefit/cost ratio of the scheme is at least 1.5, The benefit/cost ratio is approximated in the pre-development phase. With per capita cost below the thresholds given for different water systems and benefit, at present, is estimated on the basis of the value of the average time saved each day by the community. or
- The average existing water availability is less than 15 liters per capita per day, and per capita scheme cost is below the thresholds given for different water systems. or
- A majority of households are dependent upon heavily polluted water sources and per capita scheme cost is below the thresholds given for different water systems.
- A scheme must meet the following technical criteria:
- The proposed water source is unpolluted, undisputed, and yields at least 45 liters per capita per day (if there is no other solution, and existing sources are heavily polluted or provide under 15 lpcd, a minimum of 25 lpcd is also acceptable). The scheme must meet the engineering standards and service levels prescribed in the Board's technical manual, and the scheme proposal must include measures to mitigate adverse environmental consequences.
- A scheme must meet the following criteria on sustainability and willingness to pay:
- The community contributes to the capital cost covering all unskilled labor, locally available materials, porter fees, and the cash contribution is at least 2.5% of the construction cost in the Hills, and 10% in the Terai (Both cash and kind contributions combined adds, on an average, up to 20% of the scheme construction cost.). Community also contributes all additional costs for service levels higher than those provided under Fund's technical manual;
- The community makes satisfactory operation and maintenance arrangements, including engaging a village maintenance worker, establishing a system for collecting maintenance funds on a regular basis, and paying the first year's operation and maintenance cost in advance. The operation and maintenance cost is estimated at 3% of the total scheme construction cost in the Hills, and 4% in the Terai);
A WSUG is formed and registered under the Water Resources Act comprising all beneficiary families, and a WSUC with representatives from each cluster, including at least three women members, is constituted to manage the implementation, operation and maintenance of the scheme; and
- All households willing to participate in the community are covered.
The above eligibility criteria are applied to schemes to qualify for both the development and implementation phases of the scheme cycle.
To ensure economy of scale, SOs are contracted for at least 3-4 geographically clustered schemes. Each scheme is site appraised by the Board during the pre-development and development phases to ensure sustainability aspects of the scheme implementation. TAC recommends to the Board members for approval only those schemes that meet the eligibility criteria.
Promotion of the Private Sector
The main objective of the Government to establish and operationalize the Board is to gradually transfer the water supply and sanitation service delivery responsibility to the private sector. With this objective, the Board is designed to operate in partnership with SOs and communities, and obtain the services of national SAs to provide it technical, institutional, and operational assistances in various stages of scheme implementation.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Supervision
The Board, set up as a facilitating agency, maintains that the primary managers of specific schemes are the WUCs and SOs. However, the Board adopts a comprehensive monitoring, evaluation and supervision system for both the development and implementation phases to ensure technical quality and effective beneficiary participation. The Board also monitors implementation progress, impact of the investments made, and the quality of performance of the contracted SOs. Such monitoring puts emphasis on the responsibilities and interests of communities and SOs in terms of field implementation and quality control.
Each SO and community is required to maintain accounts of income and expenditure in the formats provided by the Board, and regularly provide the Board with updated actual scheme accounts on expenditure of any payment before a next payment is made. Independent auditors recruited by the Board finally audit their accounts. The schemes are also technically audited after completion.