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Evaluation report

1999 China: Assessment: Pilot Study on Revolving Fund on Rural Sanitation, Anhui Province



Author: Jitjaturant, V.

Executive summary

Background

In 1995, UNICEF supported a Chinese delegation from MPHCCO, Henan and Anhui PPHCCO to visit Thailand regarding sanitation and hygiene. The delegation was impressed with the community-based activities for promoting sanitation. A revolving fund for latrine construction was one of the activities the delegation member from Anhui province was interested in piloting in Anhui's rural areas. By the end of 1997, a multi-sectoral fund was approved and allocated for this initiative.

Purpose / Objective

The purposes of the evaluation are:
- To assess the organizational and management aspects, community preparation, household responses on revolving funds and sanitary latrines, repayment and revolving situation, and quality of construction, operation and maintenance of sanitary latrines
- To discuss with the project offices, local government leaders and staff, and village leaders the strengths and weaknesses of revolving funds

Methodology

The evaluation team developed guidelines for the assessment in two villages in two townships of Langxi county and four villages in two townships of Shucheng county. Shucheng county is a Social Development Programme for the Poor Areas (SPPA) project site while Langxi county was not; both counties were involved in the revolving fund scheme. Meetings with county project offices, township governments, village leaders and other committees were conducted in each county. At least six households who borrowed funds from both the first and second round, and three households that did not borrow funds were visited and interviewed in each village.

Key Findings and Conclusions

The establishment of revolving fund committees in both counties was very promising at all levels from county, township down to villages and in line with the design. Each county and township have established their own plans of action on sanitation promotion using the revolving fund as financial schemes. Funds were properly transferred from provincial project office (PO) to county PO, and from county PO to township government.

In Langxi county, the township revolving fund office is the one who signs the contract with the borrowing household. There are complaints from both township offices that it has increased their workload to follow up on each borrowing family, and the total loan of Y40,000 allocated to one township was not big enough to attract the township government to devote a full-time person to run this revolving fund and follow-up of loans.

Shucheng has applied a different approach. The county and township offices have delegated the approval of loan contracts to village leaders. By doing so, it has released the workload of the township offices. It was impressive to find that four village committees in two townships of Shucheng county were capable to manage the revolving funds efficiently and were willing to handle it. Records were well kept at both township and village levels.

The revolving fund released in September 1998 in both counties was Y81,750, which was borrowed by the first batch of 220 households. 70% of households with a six-month repayment period repaid the funds together with interest. 54% of repayment funds are now revolved to 47 households in the second batch. The funds of Y40,000 were released in late 1998 and were only transferred to the village committees in April 1999. 64% of this fund has been released to 78 households.

It was found that villagers knew about the revolving fund and the importance of sanitation and hygiene. All the families visited responded that they liked their new latrines since they brought them health and economic benefits. Moreover, they were willing to repay the loan. Most of them admitted that they had some degree of resistance at the beginning but they thought it was worthwhile.

Sanitation masons in all visited villages were trained by county/township offices. All together, 298 units of sanitary latrines have been built. Latrine construction has brought income-generating opportunities for the village masons and some villages. In Shucheng, one family produced and sold cement covers for septic tank latrines.

Recommendations

Unfortunately, the link between profit from income-generating activities from women's groups in SPPA villages and the revolving fund on latrine construction is too young to see an impact. Though further exploration is needed, it is worthwhile to consider including a revolving fund on sanitation in SPPA and ACWF/WID projects.

If the sanitation revolving fund is to stand on its own right without linking with other micro-credit schemes, the amount of funds must be big enough for each township, so that it can produce worthwhile returns of more coverage of sanitary latrines. In return, the township government will then be willing to share management cost.



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Report information

Date:
1999

Region:
EAPRO

Country:
China

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Water and Environmental Sanitation

Partners:
Anhui Provincial Health Department

PIDB:
ZW011-62

Follow Up:

Language:
English

Sequence Number:
1999/001

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